Mouth Cancer Action Month

Mouth Cancer Awareness!

Awareness of symptoms is crucial for early detection, which means earlier treatment, which is vital to stop the cancer spreading.

Mouth cancer is on the increase affecting over 6,500 people a year.  2000 of these people die from this disease in the UK alone.  If identified early enough, people can be treated and have increased chances of survival.  This is why awareness is so important.  Mike Allen and Peter Reece, our two dentists, have identified over 10 cases in their experience in practice.

Getting involved!

The team here at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice have been getting involved in raising awareness by wearing blue lipstick in our Burton based practice for a day. We will be taking some photos for our twitter and facebook pages so please feel free to Follow or Add us if you havn’t already.

Risk factors

  • Most cases are seen between the age group of 50-75 years and more commonly in men than woman
  • Smoking– Cigarette, cigar ad pipe smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer in the uk.  Due to the high tar content in cannabis, cannabis smokers are thought to be at an even higher risk.
  • Alcohol- Also a major risk factor. This risk is increased further if smoking as well
  • Betel quid. Chewing tobacco is considered the most potent risk factor.
  • Human papilloma virus. A small percentage of people with this virus develop oral cancer.
  • Other lower risk factors include low immunity, sunlight and sunbeds overuse, poor diet, poor oral hygiene, rare genetical conditions, family history of cancer.

Signs and symptoms

At Mike Allens in Burton we conduct a 12 point dental health check at every examination.  One crucial part of this check is a screening for oral cancer.  Changes in the soft tissues are key to early detection and we recommend you have them checked a minimum of every 12 months.

Unfortunately oral cancer is already at a progressed stage when symptoms surface. Patients may develop one or more of the following:

  • Red or white patches in their mouth/lips
  • Persisting ulcer that does not heal after three weeks
  • Swelling in the mouth that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Persistent discomfort/ pain
  • Speech difficulties
  • Difficulty/ pain when eating
  • Loose/ mobile for an unknown cause
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Limitation of jaw movement
  • Numbness and altered sensation
  • Persistent pain in the neck or earache
  • Swollen glands
  • Unexplained weight loss.

If you feel you are at high risk or are concerned about a family member with any of the signs and symptoms listed please contact the practice where we can happily make you an appointment.

We hope our article and photo updates on our pages provide good information and awareness for our patients, in our effort to help beat the disease.