Preventing Oral (Mouth) Cancer

Mouth cancer refers to cancer occurring in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips and adjacent areas. Mouth cancers have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma. Less than half of those people diagnosed with mouth cancer survive beyond 5 years of diagnosis. However early detection transforms survival chances to more than 90%.

A visit to the dentist can save lives. Warning signs for mouth cancer include:

  • Ulcers which do not heal within 3 weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps and swellings in the mouth

You can reduce your risk by:

  • No smoking or chewing tobacco or equivalent
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Having a healthier “low meat, low fat” diet, rich in vegetables and fruit
  • Refraining from oral sex

Note 25% of cases have no associated high risk factors.

If you experience any of these symptoms, or are not sure if you are experiencing them, it is a good idea to visit your dentist at once for a thorough examination. If further medical evaluation is needed, your dentist can take the necessary steps to facilitate this process.