The number of oral cancer cases are increasing on a global scale. Each and every year more than six thousand five hundred people are diagnosed with oral cancer in the United Kingdom alone with a further two thousand fatalities.
In fact, there are more deaths as a result of oral cancer each year in the United Kingdom than cervical and testicular cancer combined. There are a number of signs and symptoms you need to be aware of, helping you identify if you are at risk and ensuring you seek urgent medical or dental treatment to ensure you get treatment quickly and effectively.
As with any type of cancer, the sooner you catch it the better. Treatment can be started to slow the cancer growth or stop it completely, increasing your life expectancy considerably.
According to Dr Tariq Drabu, a leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon in the United Kingdom, some of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer include swelling in the mouth and velvet red or white patches. The patches can appear on the mouth lining, gums and the tongue.
Some people experience bleeding in the mouth for no reason, others may experience numbness in the face, neck and mouth. Another common symptom is sores in the mouth which don’t heal, this can include ulcers which don’t heal within a few weeks.
People suffering from oral cancer may also experience problems chewing and swallowing, they may also experience voice loss or have a hoarse voice. Not everyone experiences all of the symptoms listed, while others may experience all of the symptoms. This varies from person to person.
Dr Tariq Drabu also advised that men over the age of fifty are at a higher risk than women. Smoking is one of the leading causes of oral cancer. Lifestyle choices have a significant impact on the risk of getting this unwelcome disease.
Those who smoke and those who use smokeless tobacco are in the high risk category for oral cancer. Those that use excessive alcohol and those with a family history of cancer also fall into the high risk category. Others that are considered a high risk of oral cancer include those who have been exposed to the sun for long periods and those with HPV (human papillomavirus).
The survival rate for oral cancer is good when compared to some of the other cancers. Of course the sooner it is caught the better. The one year survival rate is eighty one percent, five year survival rate is fifty six percent and the ten year survival rate is forty one percent.
Dr Tariq Drabu mentioned that it is important for patients throughout the world to keep their routine dental appointments. Routine dental appointments are often cancelled or postponed as patients don’t feel they need to see the dentist. During a routine dental appointment, a dentist will do oral cancer screening and any problems can be caught early to ensure treatment is carried out as soon as possible.
The most common treatment solutions include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Each patient is unique and the specialist team will identify age and overall health before putting a treatment plan in place that they feel will be the most effective moving forward.
In order to prevent oral cancer, it is advisable to stop smoking, eat a well-balanced diet, reduce alcohol intake and limit sun exposure. While lifestyle is a leading factor that can result in oral cancer, there are some patients who have never smoked a day in their life. Every patient is unique, so keeping your routine dental appointment is the best way to catch this disease early and stop it in its tracks.