The latest statistics from Cancer Research UK suggest that oral cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK. In fact, in the last decade alone, the number of people affected has increased by more than a third. At Advance Dental Clinic, we are eager to do our bit in the fight against oral cancer and we strongly recommend regular dental checks for all our clients.
Oral cancer is a form of cancer that affects the soft tissue in the mouth and throat. The most significant risk factors include smoking, drinking alcohol and exposure to the HPV (human papilloma virus). If you drink and smoke, research suggests that you are more than 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer than a non-smoker who doesn’t drink.
Spotting the signs
Research shows that survival rates for oral cancer in the UK have stalled and this is largely because many cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage where cancer is incurable. In order to change this, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Spotting early earning signs can increase the chances of survival significantly. Early stage cancer is much more treatable and your chances of surviving may increase by up to 90 percent.
The most important signs to look out for include red or white patches in the mouth, any abnormal swelling or lumps in the mouth or throat, mouth sores or ulcers that take longer than two weeks to heal and a persistent sore throat. Abnormal oral pain and difficulty swallowing may also be symptomatic of oral cancer.
When you have a routine dental check-up, your dentist will have a look for signs of oral cancer and this is just one reason why regular checks are important. If there are any abnormalities or suspicious symptoms, they can then be investigated and if they do turn out be signs of cancer, treatment can be provided promptly.
If you would like to find out more about oral cancer screening or oral cancer in general, our team will be happy to help. Simply give us a call or pop in and see us.