Throughout the month of November, the Oral Health Foundation is looking to raise awareness of mouth cancer and the impact it has on thousands of people in the UK. The aim of the campaign is to help ensure that mouth cancer is diagnosed in its early stages so that it can be treated as soon as possible. Additionally, they will be looking to educate as many of the general public as they can about potential risks and symptoms in order to ensure they are confident when it comes to spotting the signs.
The Dental Law Partnership are supportive of the campaign as we understand how a delayed diagnosis can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families. With almost 2,000 deaths a year in the UK, according to the Oral Health Foundation, mouth cancer is not something which should be taken lightly.
What are the facts?
The NHS suggest that around 6,800 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer every year in the UK, with more men than women affected. You can also expect those aged over 40 to be more at risk of the condition, and those who smoke or drink alcohol are more likely to develop mouth cancer.
What are the symptoms?
Despite the different types of mouth cancer, symptoms to look out for remain the same. These can include:
Lumps in the mouth or neck which are unexplained and do not disappear
Ulcers in the mouth which are still present after several weeks
Tooth sockets which don’t heal after an extraction
Numbness or strange feeling on the lip or tongue area
White or red patches appearing at the lining of the mouth or on the tongue
Unexplained changes in your speech i.e. a lisp
Difficulty moving your jaw
What happens if mouth cancer goes unnoticed?
Obviously, your dentist is more likely to look in your mouth than your doctor, and so your dentist should be keeping an eye on the signs listed above when you go for a check-up. Unfortunately, in some cases the signs can go unnoticed, resulting in serious illness or even death, so it’s essential you help your dentist by being alert and by providing your dentist with as much information as possible when you visit for your check-up. If you have any concerns at all then we strongly recommend you contact your dentist, who will be happy to help.
For more information about donating to Mouth Cancer Awareness Month or how you can get involved with fundraising, visit the website here. Alternatively, if you need to speak to a member of the Dental Law Partnership about a possible misdiagnosis of mouth cancer, you can call us on 0808 231 3781.