Mouth Cancer Action Month
Each year mouth cancer takes the lives of around 2,000 people in the UK. With 18 people being diagnosed with the disease every day, that is equivalent to one every 77 minutes, mouth cancer is one of the few cancers where the number of people being diagnosed is set to increase in the coming years.
The key to effective treatment is early diagnosis and there are several symptoms you should never leave unchecked.
Symptoms to get checked out
- Ulcers that do not heal – a broken area of skin or ulcer that does not heal within three weeks
- Persistent discomfort or pain in your mouth – ongoing pain or discomfort in the mouth for which you cannot fix a specific cause
- White or red patches in your mouth or throat – an abnormal looking patch in your mouth or throat can be a sign of precancerous cells. Areas of abnormal cells may look white or red. These patches are not cancer, but if left untreated can develop into cancer.
- Difficulty Swallowing – Mouth cancer can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing or swallowing food or you may feel that food is sticking in your throat.
- Speech Problems – Cancer in your mouth or throat can affect your voice. It may be quieter or sound like you have a cold. You may also have difficulty in pronouncing certain words.
- A lump in your neck – you may find you have a lump in your neck caused by an enlarged lymph node. Cancerous lumps will normally start small and grow over time.
- Other symptoms – other symptoms can include but are not limited to a lump in the mouth or throat, unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth, loose teeth for no apparent reason or difficulty moving the jaw.
Many of these symptoms can be related to other less serious conditions but it is important that if you experience any of the above that you get it checked out by your dentist. If caught early survival rates for mouth cancer are around 90%.
So, if in doubt get it checked out!