Mouth cancer is a disease that affects the lip, mouth, throat and tongue. Dental professionals in the UK diagnose an average of 7,000 new cases every year. It is the 11th most common cancer in the world and about 2,000 people in the UK alone die annually because of this condition. If you want to take care of your oral health, being aware of this disease is important.
Who Are at Risk of Mouth Cancer?
Anybody is at risk. It is more common among people who have reached the age of 40 and those who often smoke and drink alcohol—more than 21 units per week for men and 14 units for women. A poor diet can increase your risks, as well. When you lack vitamins and minerals, like iron and folic acid, the oral mucosa breaks down and makes you more at risk of developing cancer.
Why Take Mouth Cancer Screening?
Cancer Research UK noted that there is no national screening programme for mouth or oropharyngeal cancer since it is not common—only two out of 100 cancers diagnosed. People who are at higher risk, however, should visit the dentist as soon as possible to undergo screening. Early detection could help improve the chances of recovery and survival rate (90%).
What Are the Symptoms of Mouth Cancer?
Dentists take mouth cancer screenings when you have no cancer symptoms yet. It should take place at least once a year, but you can check yourself regularly if you think that you are at risk. If you have lumps in your neck or jaw area, unusual red or white patches, persistent hoarseness or a mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, it is best to visit your dentist right away. These do not necessarily mean that you have developed mouth cancer, but it is best to be safe than sorry.