November is Mouth Cancer Action month, organised by the Oral Health Foundation, the campaign aims to promote the message of mouth awareness and in particular, oral cancers. This is an important message, with many people not being aware of the symptoms and signs, even though it is the 6th most common cancer in the world.
Oral cancer, also know as mouth cancer, includes cancer of the lips, mouth or upper throat. Concerningly, over the last 20 years this cancer has increased dramatically by 97% but more worryingly since the beginning of lockdown in early 2020, referrals for such cancer have fallen by 65%.
With access for some being limited during the pandemic, now is as important as ever to try and increase awareness, as with all cancers, the sooner they can be treated, and lower the long term effects.
Unlike other cancers, mouth cancer is directly linked to lifestyle choices, meaning we can make positive changes.
Often oral cancer starts as a painless white patch, in time this thickens, and develops red patches, an ulcers and/ or continues to grow. Also ulcers in general that do not heal within 3 weeks or lumps or swelling in the mouth, head and neck can be signs to be concerned about.
The main causes and factor which can increase your chance of developing such cancer include:
Excessive alcohol consumption; guidelines recommend a maximum of 14 units of alcohol per week.
Chewing smokeless tobacco
UV radiation emitted by the sun, being a cause of skin cancer, can develop on the lips
Poor diet lacking vital vitamins and minerals
With early detection being vital, ensure you visit the dentist regularly, plus additionally if you have any concerns or notice any symptoms of concern.
For more advice contact the practice: