Mouth cancer is a serious matter and remains one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the UK. In 2020/2021 the disease claimed the lives of over 2,700 people. However, what makes this figure a real concern is that it is almost double the figure from just a decade ago.
What’s also concerning is research that suggests that the majority of people (64%) don’t check their mouths for any signs of the disease, while 27% of individuals don’t know any of the early signs of the disease at all.[i]
A quick check for symptoms on a regular basis is an excellent way to catch the disease before it becomes more severe and more difficult to treat.
Common symptoms of mouth cancer include ulcers that do not heal for long periods of time (over three weeks) any red or white patches on the inner cheeks, tongue or gums, lumps and swellings with no discernible cause and, in some cases, persistent hoarseness.
While finding one of these signs is not guaranteed proof that you have mouth cancer, these anomalies are all signs that should be seen by a professional for further evaluation.
A full mouth check only need take a couple of minutes, and it’s important to check thoroughly using a light and a mirror so that you can see places that are trickier to view.
To lower your chance of developing mouth cancer further, you can also change any behaviour that may be putting you at higher risk. There are a range of habits that have been linked to higher incidence of mouth cancer, including drinking alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, use of sun beds and poor diet. There are also other factors that may cause higher risk, including HPV, previous cancer elsewhere in the body, a weak immune system and genetic predispositions to cancer.[ii]
As you can see, not all of these risks can be avoided, so a daily check really is the best way to keep on top of mouth cancer and to help ensure that if you do develop the disease, it’s caught as early as possible.
Ultimately, cancer remains a very real risk for us all. But by understanding how to perform a quick self check, knowing the symptoms and keeping your risk factors in mind, you can do all in your power to prevent the disease and, if the worst case scenario happens and you do find something unusual during one of your checks, you can get it seen by a professional as soon as possible.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
[i] Oral Health Foundation. A Simple Check For Mouth Cancer Could Save Your Life. Link: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/a-simple-check-for-mouth-cancer-could-save-your-life [Last accessed December 21].
[ii] Cancer Research UK. Mouth Cancer – Risks and Causes. Link: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/mouth-cancer/risks-causes [Last accessed December 21].