Oral cancer is a tumour that appears on the surface of tongue, mouth, lips, cheeks, throat, and gums. These tumours also occur in the salivary glands, tonsils and pharynx. Annually about 7,000 cases of mouth cancers are diagnosed in the UK, up by 33% since 2000. Overall five year survival is 50% which hasn’t been improved in the past 40 years. Oral cancer is more common in people with the age of 40 mainly in male gender; however recent research shows that oral cancer is becoming common in younger people as well as women. Every year 64,000 Oral Cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
- Red or white patches on the mouth or tongue
- A lump or bump or rough spots
- Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling
- Dramatic weight loss
- Chronic sore throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Unexplained bleeding on the mouth
See your dentist or GP if you notice any of these symptoms in your mouth and not healed within three weeks.
Types of mouth cancer
- Squamous cell cancer
- Salivary glands cancer
- Adenoid cystic cancer
The most common type of oral Cancer is the squamous cell cancer. Recent surveys show that 95% of oral cancer cases are squamous cell cancer which is nine out of ten cases.
What can cause a mouth cancer?
Oral cancer is the irrepressible growth of cells causing damages to the surrounding tissues. Disposing factors of oral cancer are:
- Smoking- cigarette, cigar, and Shisha six times more likely to develop oral cancer than the non-smokers.
- Smokeless tobacco- snuff or chewing tobacco is 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer especially at lining of lips, gums, and cheeks.
- Heavy consumption of alcohol- increases the risk of oral cancer especially when you combine the smoking and alcohol together. It is six times more common that non-drinkers.
- Excessive sun exposure- over expose to the sunlight can also increase the risk of oral cancer particularly on the lips.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV)-most surveys shows, mouth cancers has connection with the (HPV) and could soon be competing with smoking and drinking as a main reason of oral cancer. HPV spreads from oral sex and practising safe sex or limiting the number of partners may help to reduce the risk of getting HPV. These are now HPV vaccination on the market for both girls and boys.
- Family background with cancer- it can be the cause of oral cancer too, but with a lower chances.
How is Oral Cancer diagnosed?
Every time that you visit dentist for a routine check-up, your dentist conducts an oral cancer screening where your dentist looks and feels for any lumps or bumps including any changes on your face, neck, head and oral cavity tissues. As part of a routine check-up your dentists looks for any sore or discoloured tissues on your mouth and face. It is important to spot oral cancer in early stages, as there are more chances of curing the disease. Therefore it is recommend to see your dentist regularly, minimum once a year however most people with mouth cancer visit their dentist quite late.
What happens if my dentist finds a problem?
If your dentist discovers something unusual, they will refer you to a specialist oral medicine department at hospital, where a consultant will carry out a thorough examination and if they are concerned about anything unusual then they will carry out a biopsy by gathering a small sample and send it to laboratory for examining under the microscope.
Can Oral Cancer be treated?
There are higher chances of curing oral cancer when it is diagnosed in the early stages. It is treated with a surgery similar to other cancer diseases and it is followed-up with radiation and chemotherapy aiming to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
What can I do to prevent Oral cancer?
- Visit your dentist more regularly
- stop smoking
- stop chewing Paan or any other sort of tobacco
- Limit on your alcohol consumption
- Keep an eye on anything usual in your mouth, face, jaw and throat
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, helps to protect against many other cancers.
If you have any concerns do not hesitate to contact us. Award winning Cosmetic Dentist, Dr Jas Sagoo at Perfect Smile Spa has seen thousands of patients in the past 19 years. He is highly skilled and experienced and carries out different types of treatment every day. He enjoys changing people’s lives and improving their confidence simply by changing their smile.
Perfect Smile Spa is a specialist, cosmetic and general dental practice. Call our Cosmetic Dentist on 01708 442114 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org