At Soar Valley Dental Practice, we carry out mouth cancer screening as a standard part of our 17-point dental health check, at every routine dental check-up.
Mouth or oral cancer can develop anywhere in the mouth, being most prevalent on the tongue and lips. However, should you notice anything unusual in any part of your mouth, including ulcers that do not heal, you should book an appointment with us straight away. In many cases it will be nothing to be worried about, but as with all forms of cancer, the earlier oral cancer is spotted, the higher the chances are of making a full recovery.
There are about 3,800 new cases of oral cancer detected in the UK each year, and about 1,700 deaths. This proportion of deaths per number of cases is higher than other forms of cancer including breast and ovarian cancer, and late detection is one of the key factors in this. That’s why we perform mouth cancer checks on every patient.
Factors such as heavy smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco are often implicated in oral cancer, as is betel nut chewing and bidi smoking. It most often affects older people and is slightly more common in men, but like any form of cancer it can affect anyone at any time – young patients who do not smoke, drink or chew tobacco have been diagnosed. For that reason it is vital to attend regular dental appointments and to get anything suspicious checked.
Signs to look out for include:
- White or red patches on the tongue or in the mouth – many of these patches are normal, but should be checked if they grow in size or become more uneven
- Any changes in the colour and texture of the skin of the mouth that last more than two weeks
- Ulcers that do not heal
- Any other suspicious lumps or growths, whether painful or not
Should your dentist find anything suspicious, they will immediately refer you for a consultation at the hospital. A biopsy will be taken and further treatment will be provided under the care of a specialist as necessary.Back to Treatments