Wednesday, 20th September, is Mouth Cancer Awareness Day and we want to help in the fight against this increasingly common form of cancer. Over 700 cases of mouth, head and neck cancer are diagnosed in Ireland every year and more often than ever we see new cases of this disease which is unfortunately on the rise in Ireland. There is good news though – early detection and diagnosis can lead to good treatment outcomes for patients diagnosed with mouth cancer and we want to assure our patients that we perform a visual cancer screening as part of every dental health check on all our patients. If we have any concerns, we refer to specialist centres in the Cork and Dublin Dental Hospitals for further tests and diagnoses.
Mouth, head and neck cancer can present in a number of ways and can mimic some common complaints.
Symptoms of mouth, head and neck cancer include:
A sore or ulcer in your mouth that does not heal.
White or red patches inside the mouth.
A lump in the mouth or neck.
Thickening or hardening of the cheek or tongue.
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue.
Numbness of the tongue or face.
A persistent sore throat and hoarseness.
Persistent nosebleeds and a stuffy nose.
Unexplained loose teeth.
Early detection saves lives. When in doubt, get it checked out. Remember that these symptoms can also be due to complaints other than cancer. However, if you have any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, it is important that you seek advice immediately from a dentist. We are here to help.