Be Mouthaware This November – And Beyond
This November, dentists and other healthcare professionals all over the UK are on a mission to spread an important message – be mouthaware. It’s all part of this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, an annual initiative set up to raise awareness about the dangers of mouth cancer and help people to understand the causes and symptoms, run by UK charity the Oral Health Foundation. Read on to learn why being mouthaware matters.
Why does Mouth cancer matter?
Did you know that in the UK, 8,300 people-a-year are diagnosed with mouth cancer? This is a disturbing 49% increase compared to a decade ago and 135% compared with 20 years ago. Unlike other most other cancers, mouth cancer is not showing any signs of decline.
In the last year alone, 2,722 Brits lost their life to mouth cancer, whilst for those diagnosed with the disease, the 10-year survival rate is between 19% and 58%. Ultimately, the outcome depends on where the cancer strikes, and even more importantly – how early it is identified.
What exactly is mouth cancer?
If you have found yourself wondering what exactly mouth cancer is, you are not alone. Research published by the Oral Health Foundation and Simplyhealth Professionals as part of this November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, revealed that many people don’t know enough about mouth cancer, including understanding the main risk factors as well as being aware of the signs and symptoms:
- Just under half (45%) of British adults admitted to not having any understanding about mouth cancer
- Three in four (75%) said they did not know the symptoms
- Four in five (82%) did not know where mouth cancer appears
Clearly, it has never been more important for people to become mouthaware – and that is what Mouth Cancer Action Month is all about.
What are the causes of mouth cancer?
The biggest risk factors for mouth cancer are smoking and drinking alcohol to excess. Poor diet is also a factor. Another increasingly common cause, however, is the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is now known to be transmitted through oral sex.
The most important message of this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, however, is that mouth cancer can affect anybody, meaning it is vitally important to recognise the symptoms.
What are the warning signs of mouth cancer?
The early warning signs of mouth cancer that people should look out for are:
- mouth ulcers that last longer than three weeks
- red or white patches
- unusual lumps and swellings
The disease can appear in the mouth, lips, head and neck. If you become aware of any of these symptoms, it is important that you get an examination by a dentist as soon as possible. Patients should never be afraid to seek advice or put off booking an appointment if they have any concerns.
Why do regular dental check-ups matter?
Looking out for the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer as part of your regular oral hygiene routine is one of the best ways to ensure that mouth cancer can be spotted, diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible stage is to ensure you have a regular dental examination.
Some areas of the mouth are harder to examine, whilst some symptoms may not be easy to distinguish for the untrained eye. Your dentist is trained in exactly what to look for, and as part of your regular examination will check for any symptoms of mouth cancer. Early diagnosis gives you the best possible chance of survival. Ensuring you attend your regular checkups will not just help to save your teeth – it could save your life.
To find out more about Mouth Cancer Action Month and learn more about the disease, visit the official website.
If you have any questions or concerns about mouth cancer or would like to book an appointment or enquire about becoming a member today, call Bridge Dental & Implant Clinic now on 01332 916351.
Posted by Bridge Dental and Implant Clinic on 27th November 2018, under Mouth cancer