Mouth cancer: What are the causes and symptoms?
Cancer is a condition that’s caused by body cells reproducing uncontrollably. You could be at risk of deadly mouth cancer if you develop a number of key warning signs inside your mouth. Are you at risk?
Cancer is diagnosed in half of all people in the UK at some point in their lifetime, according to the NHS.
The most common types of cancer include breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and they each cause a variety of different symptoms.
A cancer could develop inside the mouth – a condition that’s also known as oral cancer.
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Mouth cancer can include a number of different parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek.
The best way to know whether you’re at risk of mouth cancer is to regularly visit your dentist, according to Bupa Dental Care’s Specialist in Oral Surgery and Head of Clinical Operations, Stephen Barter.
One of the most common symptoms of mouth cancer is having an ulcer in your mouth that doesn’t heal.
If you have an ulcer that won’t go away after two weeks, you should consider speaking to a doctor.
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The ulcer is more likely to be caused by mouth cancer if it’s not very painful.
Some patients have also reported having difficulty swallowing, he added.
“Nothing can replace a dental check-up as a highly effective means of cancer screening,” he told Express.co.uk.
“Other symptoms that would be worth consulting your dentist or GP about include unexplained looseness of teeth, development of severe gum bleeding, numbness in lip or tongue, lumps in mouth or neck, [and] increasing hoarseness.”
You could be raising your risk of mouth cancer by smoking, added the NHS.
Drinking alcohol or chewing tobacco could both be increasing your chances of the disease.
Eating an unhealthy diet has also been linked to mouth cancer.
Everyone should make sure they eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer to be diagnosed in the world.
But, in the UK, it’s much less common, with around 8,300 new cases every year.
Around two-thirds of all of mouth cancers develop in people over the age of 55.
Men are much more likely to develop mouth cancer than women; possibly because men drink more alcohol than women, on average.
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