Oral Cancer: What you need to know
It is believed that the causes of oral cancer include smoking and drinking (especially together) and excessive exposure to the sun.
Oral cancer is the 6th most common form of cancer and accounts for approximately 4% of all cancer diagnosis.
It is more likely to occur in patients older than 45 and men are twice as likely to develop the disease than woman.
If not diagnosed and treated early it can spread leading to chronic pain, loss of function irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death.
Oral cancer accounts for about 8,000 deaths annually.
Oral cancer is most commonly found on the tongue, floor of the mouth, soft palate at the back of the tongue, lips and gums. It presents itself as red, white or discoloured lesions patches or lumps in or around the mouth, and is typically painless in the early stages .
Dental Screening for Oral Cancer
Your dentist should check for oral cancer during routine dental examinations. They should check for lumps, irregular tissue, changes in the neck, head cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth.
You Should see your dentist immediately if you notice the following things:
Persistent mouth sore. Any sore that persists longer than 10-14 days.
Swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or near mouth or neck.
white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips
repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat.
Persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.
Refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol intake
Research suggests that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables may also safeguard against oral cancer development.
Because early diagnosis is vital it is extremely important to see your dentist for regular check ups including an oral cancer screening at least once a year.