Detecting Oral Cancer

Download Oral Cancer LeafletIf you have an irritating sore on the inside of your mouth, it might be worthwhile visiting your dentist to have it checked. Oral cancers often first begin as sores or growths that do not disappear of their own accord. Oral cancers, which include cancer in any part of the mouth, tongue or throat can be life threatening if not detected early so it is always advisable to visit a dentist if you are unsure.

India has one of the highest incidences of Oral Cancer in the world – 4 in 10 of all cancers. The high incidence of oral cancer and oral pre-cancerous lesions in India has long been linked with the habit of “betel quid” chewing incorporating tobacco. Oral cancer ranks number one among men and number three among women in India. Oral cancer constitutes 12% of all cancers in men and 8% of all cancers among women. Smokers are far more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers.

3 new cases are identified in Ireland every week and most are detected through examinations by dentists so it is important to regularly attend your dentist who will screen for oral cancer as part of their examination.

Some of the symptoms or oral cancer include:

  • Development of white or red patches in the mouth
  • Cases of unexplained bleeding of the gums or mouth lining
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling or unusual lumps developing in the mouth.
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss may also be a symptom.
Successfully overcoming an oral cancer is all about early diagnosis. Additionally, simple changes in lifestyle (ideally abstaining from smoking and alcohol) and regular screening by your dentist can greatly decrease your risk of falling victim to this type of cancer. Remember…. your dentist will be able to check for oral cancer as part of your regular check up and can take a painless brush biopsy of any suspicious looking sores in the mouth and on the tongue. Patients who catch oral cancer early stand an 80 per cent chance of being successfully treated.

Related Pages:

Smoking and Oral Cancer

Useful Links:

Irish Cancer Society
National Smokers Quitline
Dental Health Foundation
Dublin Dental School & Hospital
Cork University Dental School & Hospital
Irish Dental Association
Mouth Cancer Foundation

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