Mouth Cancer Screening

Oral cancer in the UK is on the increase

Mouth Cancer Screening in London

The incident of mouth (oral) cancer in the UK is on the increase.

Around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade. In the UK, over 7,700 people were diagnosed with Mouth Cancer in 2011.

Tobacco use is still considered the main cause of mouth cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, and up to half of current smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness – including mouth cancer. Drinking to excess can also increase the risk of mouth cancer by four times with hose who smoke and drink are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.

Cancers can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, and adjacent areas like the throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus, and other sites in the head and neck area.
treatment can be highly effective for mouth cancer, dependent upon where it is, so long as early detection and treatment is undertaken.

Mouth Cancer Screening in London FAQs

What happens during an oral cancer screening in the UK?

During a mouth cancer screening, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of the inside of your mouth. Usually, they’re looking out for any tell-tale signs that there could be something wrong, which include:

  • Red or white patches
  • Mouth sores
  • Changes in texture
  • Checking the tongue for changes in colour, texture, symmetry and mobility

These examinations aren’t painful and can be done in as little as five minutes, but they’re incredibly important to attend – especially if you smoke or drink.

How often should I go for an oral cancer screening?

Although oral cancer currently impacts around 60,000 people in the UK alone, it is one of the easier types of cancers to treat, especially when it’s caught early. That’s why dentists will usually recommend that you receive a mouth cancer screening every three years, up to the age of 40, at which point you should be getting these checks done once a year.

What are the first signs of oral cancer?

Unlike some types of cancer, oral cancer can be difficult to detect by yourself, especially when it’s in the early stages. It can develop in pretty much any part of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, the inner lining of the cheeks, gums, and hard or soft palate, which is why seeing a professional dentist for a mouth cancer screening is so important. 

Of course, you shouldn’t be waiting for symptoms to attend your routine screening, but there are some warning signs that there could be a problem, which include:

  • Sore or irritated mouth or throat
  • Red or white patches on the inside of the mouth
  • Hoarseness or other vocal changes
  • A persistent cough
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Swollen jaw or neck
  • Numb mouth

These are just some of the early symptoms, and should you experience any, it’s advised that you contact your dentist for a thorough check as soon as you can.

Is oral cancer a screening routine?

Although the NHS will call patients in the UK for routine screenings, oral cancer screening is not part of this. There are currently no standard screening tests for this type of cancer, which is why it’s our job to explain just how important it is as part of your oral health.

Here at The Dental Centre London, we’re dedicated to educating, and empowering our patients to look after their oral health, from everyday stuff to serious issues. So, if you’re due for an oral cancer screening, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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