Your local London W1 dentist does more than just look after the condition of your teeth. He or she is also on the lookout for any tell tale signs of mouth cancer. Although this form of cancer only accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the UK it is still a risk. Men are twice as likely to suffer from it than women and there are other factors that can increase the risk of developing it.
Smoking or the use or chewing tobacco accounts for around 75% of all oral cancers. As most people know tobacco contains carcinogens, which is a substance that is directly involved in causing cancer, however, most people do not know that it contains over 60 known carcinogens. Alcohol is another factor that increases the risk of mouth cancer. If a person is a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker their risk is doubled.
The signs and symptoms of mouth cancer can include any of the following. The cancer is usually seen as lesions, lumps or ulcers that do not go away after 14 days. They tend to start off small and are usually pale in colour, but they can also be discoloured or dark in appearance. The most common areas to find these lesions will be on the tongue or lips, although they can form anywhere in the mouth. They are generally painless to begin with but a burning sensation may appear as the tumour advances.
Treatment can range from surgical removal to radiation or chemotherapy. If caught early enough the chance of a complete recovery is around 90%. This is why regular check-ups with the dentist are so important, as they will be the ones who will most likely spot these lesions.