The statistics on oral cancer do not make very comfortable reading. The number of cases diagnosed annually is increasing whilst the survival rate (50%) has not improved for the last few decades. In Europe over 100,000 cases are diagnosed each year and in the UK alone over 1500 people each year die from this condition.
The increases in the disease that we have seen are not entirely attributable to the usual risk factors of smoking and alcohol use and so research in to the condition has now expanded to include areas such as diet, human papillomavirus and genetics. One piece of good news that has come out of this research is that regular daily portions of fruit and vegetables can half your risk of developing this disease. This evidence comes in the form of an exhaustive review of sixteen separate studies involving over 5,000 individuals and was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This research built on earlier work begun by the World Cancer Research Fund and showed that each portion of fruit or vegetable consumed per day reduced the risk of oral cancer by 50%
Although the overall survival rates for oral cancer are poor they can be significantly increased by early detection. Listed below are the signs to look out for, all of which should be checked for by your dentist at every review. At StoneRock Dental Care we provide cancer screening for every patient, which takes less than two minutes and is entirely painless. If you have concerns about this condition and would like to find out more then please do not hesitate to call the surgery and we will be happy to help you.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer
1.A sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks
2. A lump or overgrowth of tissue anywhere in the mouth
3. A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
4. Difficulty in swallowing
5. Difficulty in chewing or moving the jaw or tongue?
6. Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
7. A feeling that something is caught in the throat
8. A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than six weeks, particularly smokers over 50 years old and heavy drinkers
9. Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
10. Neck swelling present for more than three weeks
11. Unexplained tooth mobility persisting for more than three weeks – see a dentist urgently
12. unilateral nasal mass / ulceration / obstruction, particularly associated with purulent or bloody discharge