We know that cancer is a scary word. Cases of mouth cancer are on the rise and, like any form of cancer, early detection vastly increases the chances of making a full recovery. That’s why we undertake mouth cancer screening as standard during your regular dental check-ups.
As dentists we have the experience and equipment to spot the early stages of mouth cancer, even before you may have noticed anything yourself. However, if you do find anything suspicious between your regular check-ups, please make an appointment to see us straight away. Remember: the earlier mouth cancer is spotted, the better your chances of recovery are.
Symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- Lumps in the mouth, tongue or throat
- Red or white patches in the mouth or throat
- Ulcers which do not heal
- Persistent mouth pain or pain/problems swallowing
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck
- Changes to speech or voice
- Unexplained weight loss
- Problems moving the jaw
- Bleeding/numbness in the mouth
- Teeth that become loose for no obvious reason
Should you notice any of these signs, or anything else suspicious, book an appointment straight away. One of our dentists will carry out a thorough examination of the whole of your mouth, using a special hand-held device to scan any lesions or lumps they may find. This helps to highlight any risk factors; if we do find anything suspicious, we will refer you to a hospital consultant for further investigation.
In many cases, anything we find may be benign. However, because of late detection, mouth cancers have a higher number of deaths per number of cases than the more widely publicised conditions breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma. Currently there about 2,700 deaths from mouth cancer in the UK every year.
For more information about mouth cancer, including diagnosis, treatment and support groups, please visit the Mouth Cancer Foundation website.