Mouth Cancer Action Month is supported by the British Dental Health Foundation and Mouth Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of the disease. Within the next 10 years, a predicted 60,000 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer*.
As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, we would like to raise awareness of the symptoms and encourage more people to visit their dentist regularly to monitor their oral health.
Mouth Cancer Symptoms
Mouth cancer can develop in any part of your mouth. This includes your tongue, lips, throat, mouth and parts of your head and neck. If you begin to spot any of the following symptoms of mouth cancer, you may need to seek medical advice.
- Painful mouth ulcers which don’t heal after several weeks
- Constant lumps in your lymph glands or mouth with no explanation as to why they are there
Less common symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Struggling to move your jaw
- Changes in your speech, including a lisp
- Experiencing pain or difficulty when swallowing
- White or red patches along your mouth or tongue’s lining
- Unexplained loose teeth or not healing after an extraction
- Constant feeling of numbness on your lip or tongue with no explanation
Your risk of developing mouth cancer can also be increased by drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco products and contracting HPV.
Types of Mouth Cancer
Because mouth cancer can grow in any part of your mouth, there are different types. 9 in 10 cases are Squamous Cell Carcinoma which can be found in different parts of your body*. With mouth cancer, you can find it in your skin and mouth.
Less common types of mouth cancer include:
- Adenocarcinoma: Grows within your salivary glands.
- Sarcoma: Caused by abnormalities found in your bones, muscle, cartilage or tissues.
- Lymphoma: Develops from cells located in your lymph glands in your neck but can also develop in your mouth.
- Oral Malignant Melanoma: Develops in your melanocytes, as swelling which appears darkened and mottled, which can be prone to bleeding.
When to See Your GP
There can be other reasons, such as infection, for the above symptoms. However, if they do not begin to heal within three weeks it is important to visit your GP or dentist. This is especially urgent if you regularly smoke or drink alcohol.
Importance of Dental Check Up Appointments
During the initial stages of developing mouth cancer, the symptoms may not be so obvious. Therefore, by attending your routine dental check-up appointments, you dentist can search for these. They will be able to spot the signs of mouth cancer much more easily and can monitor them throughout your appointments.
As a general rule, you should book a dental appointment at least once a year. However, your dentist can advise you on this depending on your dental needs.
Booking with Riverside Dental Spa
Riverside Dental Spa is a dedicated dental practice, offering a quality service to ensure all patients can benefit from excellent oral health. If you are due for a dental check up, get in touch with our team today.
*Mouth Cancer Foundation, https://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/events/mouth-cancer-action-month
*NHS, Types on Mouth Cancer, 14th October 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-cancer/