Almost 8,000 Britons are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, but the early warning signs of the disease are likely to be missed. It can be easy to miss a common symptom like a hoarse voice, but the earlier cancer is caught, the sooner it can be beaten.
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Head and neck cancer kills more than 4,000 Britons every year, and with a survival rate of almost 50 per cent, the earlier these cancers are caught, the better off.
Oral cancer in particular affects more men than women, with almost twice as many men being diagnosed with cancer each year. However, unlike many other types of cancer, nearly 50 percent of all oral cancers are preventable.
While quitting smoking and improving your oral hygiene will help prevent oral cancer, the Oral Health Foundation has said that the best way to “save your life” is to keep a regular eye on the health of your mouth. Nine out of ten oral cancers that are caught early can be treated with surgery.
This is important because oral cancer can affect almost any part of your mouth, with soft tissue areas being most likely to be affected. This includes your lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and roof of your mouth.
If you’re worried you may have this cancer and can’t get an appointment to see your doctor, there is another way to seek professional help.
Unlike other types of cancer, oral cancer can be detected and screened by both a dentist and a doctor, both of whom are trained in detecting head and neck cancer. If this disease is caught early, patients have a 90 percent survival rate.
The Oral Health Foundation says the four early warning signs you can spot with a regular oral health check include:
- Ulcers that take more than three weeks to heal
- Unusual red or white spots
- Lumps around neck and jaw
- Persistent hoarseness in the throat
People experiencing any of these symptoms are advised to consult a dentist or doctor. The Oral Health Foundation says even if nothing is seriously wrong, testing “could save your life.”
How to prevent oral cancer
That NHS says the most effective way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid some of the most common vices, alcohol and smoking.
Health chiefs say the three most powerful things you can do are:
- Do not smoke tobacco or use other substitutes such as chewing tobacco
- Drinking within healthy drinking guidelines set by the Chief Medical Officer
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
How is oral cancer treated?
There are three main treatments for these types of cancer, although they are often used in combination, with surgery following radiation therapy likely preventing other types of cancer from developing.
The three treatments are:
- Surgery to remove the cancer cells along with a tiny bit of surrounding normal tissue or cells to ensure the cancer is completely removed
- Radiation therapy – where radiation is aimed at the cancer cells
- Chemotherapy – where powerful drugs are used to kill cancer cells
In addition to trying to cure oral cancer, treatment focuses on maintaining important oral functions like breathing, speaking, and eating.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/mouth-cancer-four-early-warning-26867057 Oral Cancer: The Four Early Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life