Cancer is always in the news, but despite it being the 6th most common cancer, most people won’t recognize oral cancer signs because the disease gets less publicity.
Thanks to global oral cancer awareness events things are slowly beginning to change.
For instance, dentists in Scotland have held street events to highlight awareness, offering free mouth screening checks.
They have been aided by The Ben Walton Trust, which was set up in tribute to an otherwise healthy young man who sadly died, aged 22, after a yearlong battle with oral cancer.
Ben was in University studying psychology, and was sent to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon after developing an ulcer on the side of his tongue.
Early Signs Of Oral Cancer
Although regular dental checkups can detect the disease, many people do not make regular visits to the dentist, or know the signs they should be looking out for.
Some symptoms may be nothing to worry about, or they may be related to another oral health condition, but they could be early signs of oral cancer.
The following symptoms may be early stages of mouth cancer, and can easily be checked out:
- Mouth ulcers which have not healed
- Mouth which is persistently sore
- Bleeding Mouth
- White, red, or discolored patches in the mouth
- Lumps in the mouth or lumps in the neck
Causes Of Oral Cancer
So, now you know some of the symptoms, but do you know what causes oral cancer?
As with all cancers, according to oral cancer statistics, there are risk factors which may increase your risk of developing the disease.
It has been estimated that people who smoke and consume large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis are around forty times more likely to develop cancer of the mouth.
The main risk factors are:
- Large alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
- Bad or no oral hygiene practices
- The HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus)
Although these are known risk factors, if you show any symptoms get them checked out.
A qualified dentist should take symptoms seriously and can diagnose a problem or refer you to a specialist for further investigations.
Just because you are a non smoker and non drinker don’t ignore symptoms, because a quick dental examination can confirm things.
How To Prevent Oral Cancer
Although one can never guarantee a person will get cancer of the mouth, by understanding the risk factors you can reduce your chances of getting it.
For instance, bad oral hygiene can cause many diseases of the mouth, but most people would never connect their poor hygiene regime to a higher risk of developing cancerous oral diseases.
Everyone knows the dangers of smoking and drinking, but we’re always hearing about other forms of cancer in relation to them.
You can reduce your risks and get the condition diagnosed early if you:
- Follow a good oral hygiene regime
- Have regular dental checks
- Look after your diet and health
- Report any bleeding mouth, ulcers that don’t heal, or constantly sore mouth.
When caught early there is a high survival rate, so watch out for oral cancer signs and don’t ignore them.