November is all about mouth cancer awareness.
Signs and symptoms can be spotted by your dentist at your regular dental examination but we also want you to be aware of what to look out for.
If in doubt check it out!
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.
It can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally also a white or red patch in the mouth can develop into a cancer. Be aware of any unusual lumps in your mouth or jaw area and any persistent hoarseness. It is important to visit your dental team or doctor if these areas do not heal within three weeks.If you aren’t sure, go for a check-up anyway.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco use is still considered the main cause of mouth cancer. Along with this drinking to excess, if tobacco and alcohol are taken together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips. Reports have also linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV)
By amending our life choices we can help cut the chances of developing cancer.
Smoking – The more and longer you smoke — cigarettes, cigars, or pipes — the higher your risk. But even if you’ve been at it for a long time, stopping now helps. For help on quitting smoking visit – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/nhs-stop-smoking-services-help-you-quit/
Alcohol – If you’re drinking excessively, cut down your intake. UK guidelines recommend a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week for both men and women.
A balanced diet – A lack of nutrients can lead to changes in your mouth, vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are great for your immune system and helps protect you.
Sun protection – Too much time in the sun doesn’t just raise your chances of skin cancer, it’s also a problem for your lips. If you can, stay out of direct sunlight in the middle of the day — that’s when it’s strongest. Use lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and put it on often.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is a charity campaign which aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and make a difference by saving thousands of lives through early detection and prevention. https://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/events/mouth-cancer-action-month
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