If there’s one cancer that is directly linked to lifestyle choices, it is mouth and throat cancers. Tumours develop in the mouth when cells are damaged and then start to grow out of control. In the UK, mouth cancer is on the rise. About 6,800 people a month are being diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers, which is about 2% of all cancers. It sounds scary, but the good news is that, if caught early, mouth cancers are easily treated, and they are easily detected too. All people need to do is have an annual mouth cancer screening at a dental clinic in W1.
Mouth Cancer Action Month
November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, which means that many a dental clinic in W1, such as Harley Street Dental Clinic, will have a special focus on mouth cancer screening. This doesn’t mean that people can only have screenings in November, of course. They can have a screening at any time of the year, and screenings are often tacked onto patients’ bi-annual dental check-ups.
Who gets mouth cancer?
Mouth cancers are lifestyle related. People who drink and smoke, who don’t eat enough fruit and veg, who are obese or who, if they are younger, have the HPV virus are the most likely to get mouth and throat cancers. Mouth cancers show up mostly in the 54-74 age bracket, the time when lifestyle choices are catching up on people.
What happens during a screening
The dentist at the dental clinic in W1 will carefully check the lips and inside the mouth, looking for lumps, red or white patches and other anomalies. They will also use their fingers to feel into the neck and throat, searching for lumps.
How is mouth cancer treated?
If the dentist finds something, expect to get sent to the dental hospital to have it surgically removed, and analysed. If cancerous cells are found, there may be a course of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. All efforts will be made to preserve the mouth’s important functions and appearance.
Found an oddity?
If patients find a lump, patch or develop hoarseness, and it doesn’t go away after 3 weeks, they need to take themselves along for a screening.