What is mouth cancer and what causes it?
Mouth cancer (also known as oral cancer) is the cancer that aﬀects any part of the mouth. The most commonly aﬀected sites are the tongue, lip and ﬂoor of the mouth, however any part of the mouth may be aﬀected.
The main risk factors for the development of most mouth cancers are smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause oropharyngeal cancer (cancer aﬀecting the base of tongue, back of the throat, so palate and tonsils).
What are the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer?
Symptoms of mouth cancer are wide ranging and include:
● white or red patches on the mouth, tongue or gums
● ulcerations that fails to heal
● a lump or thickening inside of the mouth
● unexplained bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
● diﬃculty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
● mobile teeth
● a change in the way your teeth or dentures ﬁt together
How to prevent mouth cancer?
Smoking cessation and safe alcohol consumption are very important in preventing mouth cancer. In addition to this, regular visits to the dentist are recommended as mouth cancer is often detected by your dentist ﬁrst and can help in early detection. During a general exam, your dentist will conduct a quick oral cancer screen, which involves looking over the inside of the mouth and examining your throat and neck.
If you are concerned about mouth cancer it is best to seek advice from your doctor or dentist as soon as possible.