November is Mouth Cancer Action Month – an important initiative aimed at raising awareness of the disease among dentists as well as the general population.
In the UK, 1 in 55 men and 1 in 108 women will be diagnosed with oral cancer in their lifetime, with cases on the rise – and many of those diagnoses come after a problem is flagged up by the individual’s dental surgeon.
With early detection and treatment, the prognosis for people with oral cancers is usually good, which is why it’s so crucial to recognize the symptoms early.
Things to look out for
Cancers of the mouth and throat can present symptoms similar to many other common ailments, which is why Mouth Cancer Action Month has adopted the slogan ‘If in doubt, get checked out’. Signs can include:
It’s not known exactly what causes mouth and throat cancers but there are some health and lifestyle factors that can increase the risk. Quite a large percentage of pharyngeal (throat) cancers are preventable. Risk factors include:
As professionals within the oral health sector it is our responsibility to ensure we promote healthy lifestyles and support initiatives designed to increase awareness of oral cancers. For further information and some useful downloadable resources for your dental surgery, visit https://www.dentalhealth.org/mouthaware.