Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer (cancer of the mouth) is unfortunately a disease that is becoming more common, with four times as many cases a year being diagnosed as during the 1970’s. This level is the same as it was during the 1940’s! It is currently responsible for over 250 deaths per year amongst men and women. This is particularly unfortunate as, if diagnosed early, this form of cancer is easily treated by hospital specialists.

Who is at risk?

Oral Cancer is most common in men aged from 35 – 65, but also occurs in women of this age group. Factors that increase the risk of cancer are smoking (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) and drinking alcohol (especially spirits). A combination of both smoking and drinking increases the risk further.

What can i do?

The simplest way to reduce the risk is to reduce the amount you smoke (if you do) and ideally give up smoking completely. In addition to this, reducing the amount of spirits drunk and other alcohol will help.

Regular dental examinations are the best way of checking the mouth for any abnormalities. The dental “check-up” does not simply check the teeth and gums, but all parts of the mouth. This is also the best time to mention any worries you may have, or bring areas that concern you to the attention of the dentist.

Even patients who have no teeth of their own (i.e. wearers of full dentures) are still at risk from Oral cancer and should have their mouths inspected once a year.