Did you know that rates of oral cancer have increased by around a third in the last ten years? Although oral cancer kills more people than cervical and testicular cancer combined, public awareness of the disease remains low, and this is why many cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage. It may not be possible to prevent oral cancer, but here are 5 ways you can help to lower your risk:
- Stop smoking: if you smoke, giving up will have a dramatic impact on your risk of developing oral cancer. Smoking is the most significant risk factor for mouth cancer. If you would like to try and give up smoking, we are here to help and support you.
- Drink in moderation: excessive drinking is another major risk factor for oral cancer. If you drink and smoke, you’re more than 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer than a non-smoker who doesn’t drink. Government guidelines recommend a maximum weekly alcohol intake of 14 units.
- See your dentist: oral cancer checks are part of routine dental appointments and we also offer advanced oral cancer screening. Our dentists are trained to identify symptoms that may not yet be obvious, and this can aid early diagnosis and treatment.
- Eat well: studies show that a diet lacking in nutrients can elevate the risk of oral cancer. Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables to ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need.
- Be mouth aware: many people are unaware of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer, and this means that they don’t know what to look out for. If you’re aware of the warning signs, this may mean that you seek advice earlier and that treatment can be administered earlier with a higher chance of success. Symptoms include:
- Slow-healing mouth ulcers and sores
- Persistent sore throat
- Abnormal lumps or swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Unexplained oral pain
If you have any questions about oral cancer, or you’d like to book a check-up, call us today.