Did you know that November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month in the UK?
Many dental practices go the extra mile to make their patients more aware of the risks of developing mouth cancer through smoking or other causes during the month of November each year. Not many people actually know that when they book a regular check-up with their dentist every six months that their dentist is not only checking on the general health of your teeth and gums, but are also concerned with checking for the early symptoms and stages of mouth cancer too.
Should any concerns be raised during your regular dental check-up, your dentist will refer you to a specialist service without delay. This is why it is so important for you to keep up your regular dental check-ups, even if you think your teeth are perfectly fine and you have experienced no issues since your last check.
Mouth cancer is serious
While most of us live in fear of being struck down with any form of cancer, not much is heard in the main stream media about mouth cancer cases. What is quite eye-opening is knowing that an average of 6,767 patients are diagnosed with mouth cancer every year in the UK – and these are the ones that are being picked up through routine dental check ups as well as self-reporting issues to their GP. This equates to 18 people each and every day being diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK alone! There could be many more cases undiagnosed because people are not keeping regular dental check up appointments.
Although you don’t hear too much about mouth cancer in the news, this terrible disease claims more lives each year that the total number of deaths caused by traffic accidents across the whole of the UK per year. Mouth cancer takes more lives each year than cervical and testicular cancer combined!
Good survival rates
Despite cancer deaths rates being quite high, when diagnosed early, mouth cancer sufferers can expect around a 90% survival rate when compared to nearly 50% for other common forms of cancer.
Regardless of you age or general state of health, mouth cancer can strike at any age or stage of life. This is why regular contact with your medical support services is crucial if you want to be able to catch this disease as early as possible.
You must report any concerns you have to your GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing any issues with your mouth that you are concerned about. Don’t wait to see your dentist if your regular check-up is still a few weeks or months away. If you are worried about your mouth, teeth or gums, book an appointment with your dentist for an examination to get their opinion and to make sure everything is OK.
This is especially important if you are concerned and cannot book a GP appointment for some time. Your dentist will be able to refer you quickly to a specialist should they find anything of concern, and you could find yourself getting specialist help much quicker than having to wait for a GP appointment.
How to reduce your risks
You can reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer by stopping smoking or the use chewing tobacco. Smoking is one of the biggest risks for developing mouth cancer, so by quitting the habit you will greatly slash your chances of developing mouth cancer.
Watch your alcohol intake as excess alcohol consumption has also been linked to developing mouth and throat cancer. Cut out eating sugar and sugar-laden foods and drinks such as sugary breakfast cereals, fruit juice and fizzy drinks.