Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2019 is on Wednesday, September 18th. This will be its 10th year running.
This campaign aims to promote awareness of mouth cancer, its causes, and how to reduce your risk of getting it. This year, we are trying to highlight the importance of early diagnosis. Early diagnosis greatly improves your chance of successful treatment, and can save your life!
There are over 700 people diagnosed with mouth, head, and neck cancer a year. Of these, over 400 are mouth cancer diagnosis. Although it is more prominent in men (6th most common form of cancer in men) and older people, the rate of women and younger people getting mouth cancer has increased significantly in recent years.
Risk Factors For Mouth Cancer
- Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or marijuana; if you smoke, it is time to try give it up
- Vaping, using E-Cigarettes, or chewing smokeless tobacco; aim to cut out these forms of smoking as they can adversely affect your health
- Drinking alcohol; limit your intake of alcohol, or cut it out completely
- Exposure to HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
- Exposure to the sun; always use sunblock, and use a lip balm that has SPF
- A diet lacking in fruit and vegetables; check out our previous blog about nutrition and your dental health
Mouth, head, and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men worldwide
What are the Symptoms of Mouth, Head, and Neck Cancer?
- Mouth sores or ulcers that won’t heal
- White or red patches in the mouth
- A lump in your neck or mouth
- Thickening or hardening of the cheek or tongue
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Difficulty moving your tongue
- Numbness of the face or tongue
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Unexplained loose teeth
Visit your Dentist
We encourage patients to get a check up with their dentist every 6 months. During your routine visit, make sure you get checked for any signs of mouth cancer. While most dentists will always check for signs of mouth cancer, double check with them and find out when your last check was.
Check your Mouth Yourself
Early detection is so important. It can determine how effective treatment will be. Here are 7 simple steps to check your mouth for any of the signs mentioned above. Get in front of a mirror with good lighting and check the following:
- Check your gums and inside the top and bottom lips.
- Check inside the cheeks – right and left sides.
- Open your mouth wide. Look at the roof of your mouth and the tonsils at the back of your mouth.
- Stick out your tongue and check it: top, bottom and both sides, right and left (use a tissue to hold slippery tip).
- Lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth and use your finger to feel the floor of your mouth underneath and at each side of the tongue.
- Check your lips.
- Feel your neck for recent change.
If you have any concerns in relation to mouth, head and neck cancer, go see your dentist or GP straight away.
If you would like more information on Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2019, you can find more information on the official Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2019 website.
For more information about mouth, head and neck cancer, check out the below resources: