Oral cancer involves abnormal cell tissue growth in the mouth, tongue, lip, palate, gums or throat. Dentists at 44 Dental Care  can screen patients to determine if they have oral cancer.

Oral cancer is a serious disease which can result in fatality if not caught early. At 44 Dental care we undertake thorough examinations of your soft tissues to check for any signs of this disease.

Diagnostic screening for oral cancer

Once you have discussed symptoms your dentist will check your mouth during a physical examination for swelling, lumps, red or pale patches. The full mouth is examined including lips, gums, inner cheeks, and tongue, palate and throat and neck lymph nodes. If cancer is suspected, you will be informed.  A referral to the hospital services can be made as soon as possible on an urgent where a biopsy is taken for microscopic assessment. The biopsy of cell tissue will confirm if abnormal cancerous cell growth is present.

Symptoms of oral cancer

If oral cancer is present symptoms may include pale white patches in the mouth or on the lips. There may be bright red marks present with the pale patches. Other symptoms include a wound or ulcer in the mouth or on the lips that will not heal or bleeding in the mouth. Pain when swallowing and bleeding in the mouth are also signs, as are lumps in the mouth, throat or neck. These symptoms usually persist after two weeks and should be checked by dentist.

Are there other dental conditions with similar symptoms

Other dental conditions can have similar symptoms, such as ulcers that caused by dentures, metal braces or a mouth guard. Infections can also cause swelling and bleeding in the mouth unrelated to cancer. It is important to have your symptoms checked through an oral cancer screen so that you receive early intervention, whether it is for another dental condition or cancer.

Causes of oral cancer

People at a higher risk of developing oral cancer may:

  • Have a genetic predisposition to abnormal cell growth.
  • Have high exposure to the sun or UV due to artificial tanning, which has damaged lip and skin tissue.
  • Smoke or chew tobacco which can damage oral cell tissue.
  • Drink excessive alcohol, which damages oral cell tissue and the liver.
  • Have an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, which weakens their immunity.
  • By reducing the above factors the chance of developing oral cancer is much reduced.
Prognosis, treatment and prevention of oral cancer

Oral cancer affects 4000 people In the UK. About half of these patients die of the disease. Treatment is by surgery, radio therapy and chemotherapy. However by having regular checkups  the dentist can monitor the oral health for any irregular abnormality at an early stage. Many people can have oral cancer and not know it until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Early detection can ensure the patient receives the treatment they need and gives the patient a patient a better chance of survival.