Mouth Cancer Action Month

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Most people are aware of cancers that affect your lungs, breast or stomach. However, mouth cancer is one of the few cancers that are expected to see a rise in the number of people being diagnosed over the coming years.

Over the past ten years the number of people who have been diagnosed with mouth cancer has increased by a third. More than 2,000 people lose their lives to mouth cancer every year, which is more than are killed on the UK’s roads and last year over 6,767 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer, that is equivalent to 18 people every day! Mouth cancer is a disease which can affect the lips, tongue, cheek and throat. Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer you do not need to have your own teeth.

With early diagnosis, the survival rates for mouth cancer are very good at around 90%. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you do not put off your routine dental appointments. At each visit your dentist examines your mouth, looking at your gums, tongue and soft tissues. If they notice anything unusual they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital. The consultant will be able to perform a thorough examination and take a sample of any unusual area to determine if any further treatment is needed. 

It is also important to know how to check for signs of the disease at home in between appointments. Follow these 6 simple steps for mouth cancer self-examination from the British Dental Health Foundation Mouth Cancer Action Month Website www.mouthcancer.org

1. Head and Neck

Look at your face and neck. Do both sides look the same? Look for any lumps, bumps or swellings that are only on one side of the face.

2. Neck

Feel and press along the sides and front of your neck. Can you feel any tenderness or lumps?

 3. Lips

Pull down your lower lip and look inside for any sores or change in colour. Next, use your thumb and forefinger to feel the lip for lumps, bumps or changes in texture. Repeat this with the upper lip.

         4. Cheek

Looking in a mirror, use your finger to pull out your cheek so that you can see inside. Look for red, white or dark patches. Put your index finger inside of your cheeks and your thumb on the outside. Gently squeeze and roll the cheek to check for any lumps, tenderness or ulcers.

          5. The Mouth

Run your finger along the roof of your mouth to feel for any lumps. Repeat this on the floor of your mouth.    

          6. Tongue

Stick out your tongue and look at the surface for any changes in colour or texture. Look at one side first, then the other side for any swellings, changes in colour or ulcers. Examine the underside of the tongue.

It is advisable that you complete this self-examination once a month and if you notice anything unusual or are concerned by any changes call College Dental Surgeries on 01622 752340 to book a consultation and one of our highly trained team of dentists will be able to assist you. If in doubt get it checked out!