06 Nov Mouth Cancer Awareness Month
November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, organised by the Oral Health Foundation and we are taking part in this event.
Dentists are taught to look out for mouth cancer as part of their training, so we always examine all our patients for mouth cancer- it’s why we look under your tongue! However cases of mouth cancer are on the rise and the absolute number one way to prevent this is to be more aware. Last year 8337 people in Britain were diagnosed with mouth cancer. More people die from mouth cancer than the numbers who die from cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined. People with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those with melanoma skin cancer.
While mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, cases of mouth cancer have been rising among younger people. Smoking and drinking alcohol increase the risk of getting mouth cancer and it is also associated with the human papilloma virus.
So what can we do? One of the reasons for the high death rates from this type of cancer is that often it is picked up far too late. Being aware of the possibility that such a cancer exists is certainly the beginning. We’re telling people about the condition so that even if their friend has an ulcer that doesn’t go away, they will know that mouth cancer could be a possibility- and send them off to their dentist.
We always say that if a mouth ulcer lasts longer than 3 weeks it should be checked by a dentist. If we pick things up, we will refer to a specialist straight away and the sooner treatment can be commenced the more successful it is likely to be.
In the meantime, prevention as ever is even better than cure.
So, give up smoking. Cut down on drinking alcohol and stay within the guidelines of 14 units per week. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Visit the dentist regularly, they are monitoring your mouth.
To arrange a check up or hygiene appointment at Stafford Street Dental call us on 0131 225 7576.