‘If In Doubt, Get Checked Out’.
Mouth Cancer Action Month doesn’t stop at the end of November each year, as Dental Professionals in Rotherham, our work never stops to help prevent this nasty disease.
One of the less known benefits of a truly comprehensive dental exam is early detection of oral cancer. The incidence of oral cancer in the UK has risen by a third in the last decade to over 7,000 per annum – or 20 diagnoses a day – and numbers are expected to continue increasing. However if the disease is detected and treated early, survival rates over five years can almost double.
The primary cause of death by oral cancer is discovery in the late stages. As with many other diseases, when oral cancer is caught early, it is curable. Most people believe that if they do not smoke they do not have to worry about oral cancer. The highest risk factors are smoking (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) and use of smokeless tobacco and frequent use of alcohol. However, head/neck cancers are detected in patients who do not smoke or drink. There are other risk factors as well. Males over 40 years of age are twice as likely to have oral cancer than females. Illnesses such as diabetes and immune compromise as well as infection with the HPV (human papilloma) virus are also risk factors. Low dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and excessive sun exposure has been shown to increase the risk of oral cancer as well.
Precision Dental in Rotherham provide a comprehensive examination that not only observes dental problems, but keeps a vigilant eye out for the systemic health of a patient, including an oral cancer exam, such as:
- A sore or lesion that does not heal in 2 weeks
- Lump or thickening in the cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Sore throat or feeling like something is caught in the throat
- Numbness or swelling
- An irritation from a partial or dental appliance that will not heal
A referral is made if we suspect a patient may have cancer or pre-cancerous lesion. As recommended by FGDP(UK) and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence we provide pre-prepared information to reassure, support and encourage attendance at referrals by patients, as patients can be understandably alarmed.
Frequent dental exams are not only about keeping your teeth and smile healthy, but also are about overall health and possibly saving your life or of someone you care about. If you or someone you know has any of the signs or symptoms whether you have a risk factor or not, you should have a comprehensive dental and oral cancer exam.
Early detection saves lives.