Oral cancer involves abnormal cell tissue growth in the mouth, tongue, lip, palate, gums or throat. Dental care professionals at Ten the Pavement Dental Health can screen patients to determine if they have 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, tongue, palate and throat and neck lymph nodes. If cancer is suspected, you will be informed. Further diagnostic testing will be necessary and you will be given an anaesthetic before a biopsy is taken for microscopic assessment. The biopsy of cell tissue will confirm if abnormal cancerous cell growth is present. The level of cancerous growth is determined by using endoscopic testing, X-ray or MRI scans.
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 or screened by a doctor or dental care professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Other dental conditions can have similar symptoms, particularly if there is chafing in the mouth, such as that caused by dentures, metal braces or a mouth guard. Infections can also cause swelling and bleeding in the mouth unrelated to cancer. Having your symptoms checked through an oral cancer screening will enable you to receive early intervention, whether it is for another dental condition or cancer.
In the UK about 4,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer and around 50 percent die as a result. Oral cancer is usually treated with radiation or chemotherapy, and abnormal cancerous growths can spread through the body if not caught early. Having regular dental check-ups allows dentists to monitor oral health for the presence of cancerous growth, to ensure patients can receive the treatment they need – people can have oral cancer and not know it. Other preventative measures include:
Access to both interest-free and interest-bearing finance options that
allow you to spread the cost of treatment, making it more affordable.