Mouth cancer, more commonly referred to as oral cancer is a tumour located in a part of the mouth. It is often found on the surface of the tongue, the palate, the gum or the insides of the cheeks. Mouth cancer is characterised by mouth ulcers that cause pain and do not seem to heal within a week or so the way non-cancerous ulcers normally do, lumps in the mouth that do not disappear, sudden loosening of teeth, difficulty in healing after an extraction has taken place, and white patches on the lining of the tongue or mouth. At Cowplain Dental Practice we highly encourage you to book an emergency appointment with your dentist in Waterlooville if you experience any of these signs or symptoms so that they can carry out a thorough analysis and tests to confirm whether or not you are presenting signs of mouth cancer.
What can cause mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer is easily treatable if detected in its early stages, which is why it is best to visit your dentist in Waterlooville every year for an oral cancer screening. If it is left untreated and progresses to a more advanced stage of cancer, it becomes more deadly and difficult to treat. The most common causes of mouth cancer include smoking and chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, poor oral hygiene for a prolonged period of time, certain dental diseases that have been left untreated and infection caused by HPV (human papillomavirus).
What is mouth cancer screening?
Mouth cancer screening is a simple procedure carried out by your dentist in Waterlooville to help them look for signs of cancer inside your mouth. Its purpose is to identify the early stages of mouth cancer so that you have an increased rate of success when it comes to curing the cancer. When detected in its earliest stages, nine out of ten cases are successful in destroying the cancer cells and not causing you to relapse, and the lesions or tumours are easier to remove.
How is mouth cancer screening carried out?
Mouth cancer screening is often carried out during a routine dental check-up; your dentist will be able to identify any abnormalities or signs of cancer or pre-cancer which is why it is important to have screenings done on a yearly basis. When undergoing a mouth cancer screening procedure, your dentist will record a detailed analysis of your medical and oral health history in order to determine if you possess any specific risk factors which increase your chances of developing mouth cancer. These might include a family history of mouth cancer, whether you have previously suffered from cancer before and if you smoke or drink alcohol. Once they have obtained this information, they will carry out a thorough internal examination of your mouth to check for red or white patches which are often present in the earliest stages of mouth cancer, and mouth sores. It is also common to check inside the cheeks and under the tongue for any abnormalities or ulcers, and they may also feel the tissues within your mouth to check for the presence of any lumps or abnormal growths. The dentist will then do a thorough external examination of your throat and neck to again check for signs of lumps and bumps. If they suspect any abnormalities or discover any ulcers, lesions or tumours they will refer you for further tests and biopsies which will be carried out in a hospital environment.