With early diagnosis, the chances of surviving mouth cancer are nine out of ten – and that’s why knowing what to look out for is so important. Sadly, far too many mouth cancers are not spotted early enough.
During Mouth Cancer Action Month in November, and the rest of the year, we promote the message ‘if in doubt, get checked out’. We encourage everybody to be mouth aware and pay close attention to what’s going on inside their mouth.
Most importantly, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it is essential that you tell your dentist or doctor immediately.
Here’s a simple mouth cancer check you can do at home
A mouth cancer check can be done at home and it takes less than a minute. It is a good idea to get into the habit of regularly checking yourself for the early signs of mouth cancer, especially in the time between dental visits. Take the time to perform a self-check for mouth cancer every month.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing a home mouth cancer check, which has been produced by leading UK dental health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, which organises Mouth Cancer Action Month each year.
Is there anything I can do at home?
Be aware of what is going on in your mouth. Examine yourself regularly. Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, any unusual red or white patches, lumps in your neck or jaw area, or persistent hoarseness are all reasons for asking your dental team or doctor to examine you. There is probably nothing seriously wrong but an early diagnosis could save your life.
How can I make sure that my mouth stays healthy?
Stop smoking and cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink. Eat a balanced, healthy diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This can also help protect against many other cancers.
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips. Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. Be aware of any unusual lumps in your mouth or jaw area and any persistent hoarseness. It is important to visit us or doctor if these areas do not heal within three weeks. If you aren’t sure, visit us for a dental health check anyway.
If you have any concerns about mouth cancer, please call our Willerby Road dentists on 01482 563593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do all we can to help.