Mouth Cancer Action Month
Mouth Cancer Action Month runs throughout November and is designed primarily to raise awareness of mouth cancer, highlighting what it is and what the signs and symptoms are for early detection. This early detection can literally save lives, so it is important to spread the word.
Mouth Cancer – Signs and Symptoms
If you notice any changes in your mouth or are worried about your oral health in any way, it is important to make an appointment to visit your dentist. Some of the symptoms of mouth cancer are listed below:-
• Mouth ulcers that do not heal or go away in three weeks
• Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head or neck area
• Red and white patches in the mouth
Mouth Cancer – Examination
The good news is that as part of the drive to reduce mouth cancer, dentists already perform visual checks when you visit for a check-up. This visual examination is nothing to be concerned about, and usually consists of:-
• A visual check of the head and neck to see if there are any noticeable swellings or bumps.
• A feel of your lips, they may pull down the lower lip to see if there are any sores or changes in colour. Upper lips will also be checked.
• A check of the roof of your mouth to see any change in colour or any lumps.
• A look at your tongue, they may ask you to stick it out and move it from side to side to check for ulcers.
• A check for lumps, swellings or ulcers on the floor of the mouth.
If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps or changes in colour within your mouth, face and neck, the message is clear ‘ if in doubt get checked out.’
Mouth Cancer – Who is affected
Sadly, mouth cancer takes the lives of over 2,000 people every year. This figure is more than testicular cancer, and cervical cancer put together. If mouth cancer is spotted early, then the chances of recovery are good. That is why it is so important to keep up with those six-monthly check-up appointments with your dentist. These appointments are important even if you wear dentures and particularly if you smoke and drink alcohol.
Mouth cancer can affect anyone of any age. Mouth cancers have traditionally been found more commonly in men over 40. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is now becoming more common in younger patients and women.
There are many ways to get involved in Mouth Cancer Awareness Month. Please see further information on the Oral Health Foundation website at: www.mouthcancer.org/get-involved
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