Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat and can affect nearly anyone, whether they have their own teeth or not. In the last year over 6,000 people have been diagnosed with disease in the UK, this is a 30% increase on the number being diagnosed ten years ago.
Sadly, more than 2,000 people die from the die every year with many of these deaths being preventable. If the cancer is caught early there is a 90% chance of survival, this however drops to as little as 50% when the cancer is found at a late stage.
Currently, 91% of mouth cancer diagnoses are linked to lifestyle factors, therefore it is possible to reduce the risks of developing mouth cancer by amending some of our lifestyle choices.
Many mouth cancer cases continue to be caused by smoking and tobacco use. Smoking accounts for two in three of all mouth cancer cases. The chemicals in the cigarette all enter the body through the mouth, where they transform the saliva which then damages the cells in the mouth and overtime can turn them cancerous. Research has shown that by quitting you can reduce your risk of mouth cancer by a third.
Drinking over your recommended alcohol units on a regular basis is another major risk factor linked with the development of mouth cancer, associated with around 30% off all cases. The occasional glass of wine is not an issue, but a bottle in a night could be.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Over the coming years it is thought that HPV will overtake tobacco as the leading case of mouth cancer. HPV is transmitted through oral sex, so it is important to practice safe sex to reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer.
Poor diet has been linked to 50% of all mouth cancer cases. It is important to have a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, this will not only help to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer, it will also help to keep your body fit and healthy. Mouth cancer risk is lowest in people with diets high in fruit, vegetables, Vitamin C supplements, calcium supplements, coffee, and green tea.
Signs and Symptoms
There are three main symptoms that should not be ignored:
- Ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Unusual lumps of swellings in the mouth, head, or neck area
It is important if you notice any of these that you get them checked out by your dentist as soon as possible. Call Benfleet Dental Centre on 01702 557766 and book an appointment today. If in doubt get it checked out!