There are over 300 cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in Ireland every year.
Although anyone can be potentially at risk, mouth cancer carries a much higher risk to people who smoke (or chew tobacco) or drink more than the recommended number of alcohol units weekly. In fact 3 out of 4 people who have mouth cancer smoke and drink alcohol. Other factors like poor diet and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) are also linked to mouth cancer.
Although mortality rates in Ireland are rising because of being detected late, the good news is that early detection transforms survival chances to 90%.
As the early signs can be easy to ignore, it is important to carry out regular self-inspections when you are cleaning your teeth, speak to your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms;
- Ulcers which do not heal within three weeks
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
Although most people know the importance of having a full dental health check every six months for gum disease and keeping the mouth generally health, many do not realise that dentists carry out checks for mouth cancer and check the soft tissue for signs.
What can you do?
Early detection transforms survival chances to 90% so regular check-ups with your dentist are essential. Although your dentists may not always communicate it, they will normally carry out an inspection of the soft tissue in your mouth during a full dental health check. Self-examination should also be carried out at regular intervals for some of the symptoms outlined above. If you’re a smoker you should obviously consider stopping immediately. If you have any concerns please book an appointment with our dentist Dr. David Keenan immediately. Please contact us in our Dublin dental practice today at 01 668 3242.