Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, affects thousands of people in the UK every year and unfortunately, many cases are diagnosed at a late stage when the chances of survival are lower. Dentists in London are eager to raise awareness of oral cancer to ensure that more people are diagnosed in the earlier stages, when cancer is more treatable.
What are the risk factors for mouth cancer?
The most common risk factors for mouth cancer include smoking or chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol on a regular basis and the HPV (human papilloma virus). A poor diet has also been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. This disease is more common in men than women and it tends to affect people over the age of 40 years old, although more and more young people are being diagnosed with oral cancer as a result of HPV exposure and alcohol. If you smoke and drink, you are around 30 times more likely to suffer from mouth cancer than a non-smoker who rarely drinks.
Signs to look out for
Early diagnosis could save thousands of lives, so it’s important that people are aware of the warning signs and symptoms they should be looking out for. These include mouth ulcers that take a long time to heal, red or white patches, which may be seen in the throat or mouth, a persistent sore throat or cough and abnormal swelling in the throat or mouth. If you have a lump or swelling, this may also make it harder for you to swallow properly.
Dental practices in London offer oral cancer screening, as well as including oral cancer checks as part of the routine check-up.