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.