The Oral Health Foundation announced Mouth Cancer Action Month 2016 at the beginning of November and we, here at 76 Harley Street fully support the charity it its efforts to create a greater awareness of the danger of this deadly disease.
The campaign takes place every November and it aims to draw attention to the risks, symptoms and causes of the disease in order to help save lives through early diagnosis. Mouth cancer (which can also be called oral cancer) normally develops as a tumour in the lining of the mouth.
Mouth cancer increasing in frequency
Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation highlighted that mouth cancer is actually one of the few cancers which is increasing in frequency in the UK (with a 92% increase since the 1970s), although the survival rates haven’t changed at all.
Whilst the statistics are alarming he also points out that there is cause for hope as early diagnosis can “transform a person’s chance of beating the disease from 50 per cent to 90 per cent.”.
What are the symptoms
Some of the symptoms that might indicate the onset of mouth cancer include:
- sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks
- unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
- unexplained, persistent lumps in the neck that don’t go away
- unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don’t heal after extractions
- unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue
- sometimes, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue – these can be early signs of cancer, so they should also be investigated
- changes in speech, such as a lisp
Unfortunately, according to Dr Henry Clover, the Chief Dental Officer of the campaign, only 20% of people with these symptoms would currently make an appointment to see their dentist or GP and this is why Mouth Cancer Month is so vital in raising general awareness.
We would always encourage you to book an appointment with us here at 76 Harley Street as soon as you notice any changes in your mouth that don’t clear up after a few days. Our team of experts will be happy to chat through the symptoms and causes as well as discussing prevention.