Mouth cancer isn’t a well known condition as it is one of the rarer cancers about – it accounts for just one in fifty of all cancer cases. However, because of this, people aren’t necessarily as clued up as they could be about the symptoms of mouth cancer.
So what should you be looking out for? The obvious symptoms is the presence of a lump in or on the mouth or tongue. If you notice a lump, consult your dentist straightaway – there could be a harmless explanation but it is always best to put your mind at rest. If it is something more serious, then the earlier it is caught, the better the chance of full recovery. As well as this, suffering from ulcers or the appearance of red or white patches on the lining of your mouth or tongue could indicate mouth cancer. Any other changes should also be checked out – persistent pain in the mouth, a sudden loose tooth or a change in the way you speak are also symptoms. These could be symptoms of a less serious conditions, but regardless, you should book an appointment to see your dentist and get the symptoms addressed.
The leading causes of oral cancer are generally considered to be the consumption of alcohol and smoking. Both alcohol and tobacco are carcinogenic substances but exactly how and why they alter the DNA in the mouth is still unknown. Poor oral hygiene, a poor diet and the human papilloma virus are also risk factors.
There are a range of possible treatments and if caught early enough, a complete cure is possible. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may all be used to treat the cancer. To maximise the chance of total success, early detection is key so it’s all the more important that you have your dentist investigate any concerns as soon as you spot them.