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The importance of Mouth Cancer Action Month

Posted 13th November, 2019

Every year, Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place throughout November. The campaign runs to promote the importance of mouth cancer knowledge, and for people to know how to check for signs and symptoms. Worryingly, mouth cancer cases are on the rise. However, early detection of mouth cancer will lead to a much higher chance of survival. In fact, with early detection, the chances of surviving mouth cancer are 9 in 10. 

At Gwersyllt Dental Care, we are supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month and are making sure our patients are well informed about the risks and symptoms involved. 

What is mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is the umbrella term given to tumours affecting the lips, salivary glands, tongue, gums, palate and inside of the cheeks. According to the NHS, the outlook for mouth cancer can vary depending on which part of your mouth is affected and whether it has spread from your mouth into surrounding tissue. The outlook is better for mouth cancer that affects the lip, tongue or oral cavity. Overall, around 6 in 10 people with mouth cancer will live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis, and many will live much longer without the cancer returning.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer, and to check your mouth and surrounding areas regularly. If you spot something different, make sure you get checked out by a medical professional. Look out for the following:

  • Ulcers which don’t heal within three weeks
  • Red or white patches within the mouth
  • Lumps or swellings in the mouth, head and neck areas

Who is at risk?

It is unknown what exactly causes mouth cancer. However, up to 90% of mouth cancer cases are linked to lifestyle factors. By making some small changes to your lifestyle, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing mouth cancer. These lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, including chewing and smokeless tobacco and reducing alcohol consumption. People with HPV also have a significantly higher chance of developing mouth cancer.

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