Sunday 18 December 2016

Mouth Cancer Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

mouth cancer

Mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, yet many people don't know anything about it.

Around 6,800 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK each year, which equates to 2% of all cancers diagnosed.

Most cases develop in older adults ages 50-74, but it can affect people of all ages.

Mouth cancer occurs when a tumour develops in the mouth, glands that produce saliva, the tonsils at the back of the mouth, and the part of the throat connecting your mouth to your windpipe.

As with all cancers, early detection is key if you want to make a full recovery. But how much do you know about the common life-threatening disease?

Here here are the 10 common signs you should look out for:

Mouth cancer can develop in most parts of the mouth, including the lips, gums and occasionally the throat.

The most common symptoms are:

1. Sore mouth ulcers that don't heal within several weeks

2. Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don't go away

3. Unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that don't go away

Other symptoms may include:

4. Pain or difficulty when swallowing (dysphagia)

5. Changes in your voice or speech problems

6. Unexplained weight loss

7. Bleeding or numbness in the mouth

8. A tooth, or teeth, that becomes loose for no obvious reason, or a tooth socket that doesn't heal

9. Difficulty moving your jaw

10. Red or white patches on the lining of your mouth (these are common and are very rarely cancerous, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so it's worth seeing a specialist if you have them)

The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat so it's important to keep an eye on your oral health and visit your dentist for regular check ups.

What are the main causes of mouth cancer?

Cases of mouth cancer in the UK are actually fairly low in comparison to the rest of the world. But the main causes of mouth cancer in Britain are smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol.

In fact, a recent study revealed that a third of people who have mouth cancer develop it through excessive drinking.

A poor diet can also increase your chances of contracting the disease. This is because a lack of essential vitamins and minerals may lead to a breakdown in the oral mucosa, making it more prone to developing cancer.

How can I prevent it?

1. Stop using tobacco or don't start.

2. Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all

3. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables

4. Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips

5. See your dentist regularly

How can it be treated?

There are three main treatment options depending on the severity – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy (or a combination).

Surgery is used to remove cancerous cells and tumours, while radiotherapy is used to treat some types of mouth cancers that have not spread.

Chemotherapy is opted for when the cancer has come back after surgery and radiotherapy is used to treat locally advanced cancer or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.



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