Statistics say that more than 2,000 people in the UK die from oral cancer every year – that is more deaths than those from vehicular accidents.
As of 2011, it is the 16th most common cancer in the country, affecting an estimated 6,767 people. It is more common in men than women, with 86% of the cases coming from patients over 50 years old. Studies indicate that it is one of the few cancers whose rates are projected to increase in the coming years.
Most common risk factors
Studies over the years have proven that the number one risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use, particularly cigarette smoking. No regular smoker is exempt from being at risk. But of course, the risk increases with frequency and duration. Naturally, the more you smoke and the longer you have smoked, the more at risk you are.
The second most important risk factor is alcohol consumption. If you put smoking and alcohol together, one way or another, your health is bound to suffer. Not only are you at risk for liver and lung cancer, you have added oral cancer to your list of worries.
Identifying early symptoms
Common signs of oral cancer include:
- Persistent sore throat
- A sore in the mouth that never heals
- Bleeding in the mouth or throat
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth
- Pain in the teeth or jaw
- A lump or a noticeable thickening in the cheek
- Numbness of the lips or tongue, especially if it is only on one side
- Any difficulty with speech and swallowing
- Any mass or lump in the neck
- An enlarged tonsil
- A persistent bad breath
If any of these symptoms has been present for days or weeks, it may be time to consult your physician for an examination.
Get screened today
For you and your loved ones’ protection from this deadly disease, get screened for oral cancer as early as you can. The sooner, the better. Early detection will increase your chances of survival by 90%, while late detection will cause it to plummet by 50%. Find out if you are at risk and visit our office for an oral cancer detection today.