Across the world people are coming together on 4th February to support World Cancer Day. Some as survivors, others because they’ve lost someone to the disease. Cancer is actually not one disease, but many – there are over 200 different types of cancer. At 543, we are keen to help fight all of them, but are particularly concerned with raising awareness of mouth and throat cancers – and we’d like your help.
The theme for World Cancer Day this year is ‘we can, I can’, highlighting the fact that we have to work together, as well as individually, to make a difference. So please share this post with your friends, family and colleagues on social media (using hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan) and help us get the word out!
Mouth and throat cancer: Risk factors
Mouth and throat cancers are more common in the elderly, but are alarmingly on the rise in younger people. Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are the main risk factors, along with poor diet, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and sun exposure (for lip cancer). Additional factors include family history and personal dental hygiene, as those who don’t brush twice a day or see their dentist regularly are at an increased risk.*
Mouth and throat cancer: Signs
The two most common signs of mouth cancer are:
- A sore that will not heal (present in about 80% of cases)
- Pain in your mouth that won’t go away
Other possible signs are:
- A persistent red or white patch in your mouth or throat
- A lump in your mouth, lip, throat or neck
- Difficulty or pain in swallowing or chewing
- The sensation of having something caught in your throat
- Unexplained bleeding or numbness in your mouth
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Speech problems
- Difficulty moving your jaw
- Bad breath
- Unexplained weight loss
While many of these can be explained by other causes, it is important you get them checked out by your doctor or dentist.
Mouth and throat cancer: Screening
Screening is a partnership between you and us. You must remain alert to changes in your mouth and general health, and be aware of the above symptoms, whilst we at 543 perform a mouth cancer screening at every check-up or hygienist appointment. You might not even know we’re doing it – it’s all part of us taking a good look at your mouth and throat and noting any possible reasons for concern.
It’s therefore really important that you come in as recommended for regular dental and hygiene appointments, and urge your friends and family members to do the same. Together we can beat cancer, one case at a time!
*According to a guide published by Cancer Research UK.