Screening for mouth cancer is an important part of a regular dental check-up. Mouth cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, throat and lips. Like any form of cancer, early detection is vital to successful treatment.
St Paul's Dental Practice supports the oral cancer foundation, meaning that we help to raise awareness of mouth cancer and to educate patients on the symptoms, causes and preventative steps that can be taken to help avoid the condition. All of our patients have an extra- and intra-oral assessment as part of their standard dental check-up. That's one of the reasons that, even if you have lost all of your natural teeth, you should maintain your regular dental appointments, as frequently as your dentist recommends.
Should your dentist find anything of any concern during your routine examination, they will immediately refer you to a hospital consultant. You will also be given information on signs and symptoms to watch out for at home – if you notice any of these, or anything else unusual, you should contact the practice straight away for an immediate appointment.
What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?
- Mouth ulcers (often painless) that don't heal after three weeks.
- Red or white patches in the mouth.
- Lumps in the jaw or neck.
- Persistent hoarseness/sore throat.
What are the causes of mouth cancer?
Smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol raise the risk of developing mouth cancer, but like all cancers there are a variety of causes, so even if you don't smoke or drink you should maintain your regular dental appointments.
- Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Chewing tobacco
- Exposure to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
- Excess exposure to the sun without protecting the lips.
- A family history of mouth cancer.
Remember, as with all forms of cancer, early detection hugely increases the chances of making a full recovery – another important reason to keep to your regular dental check-up appointments.
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