Many people do not know that cancer can arise form the mouth. Oral cancer is among the 10 most common cancers worldwide and its incidence is on the rise. There is 32% increase of incidence over the last 10 years. There are approximately 5000 new cases per year in UK.

This type of cancer still has high mortality and high morbidity. Generally speaking the earlier the cancer is diagnosis the better is the prognosis. Public awareness of oral cancer is low, patients of- ten delay to seek professional advice. We should minimise time from onset of signs or symptoms to diagnosis.

Early signs or symptoms of oral cancer are:

– ulcers or sores of the oral mucosa persisting for more than 3 weeks

– lumps and bumps in the oral cavity or on the neck persisting more than 3 weeks – white or red patches of the oral mucosa

In case you have noticed any of the above please do not hesitate to seek professional help. Dental practices or general medical practitioner are a good starting point.

Oral health care professional including dentists, hygienists and therapists are trained to recognised suspicious lesions or signs and act accordingly.

Oral cancer is multifactorial disease with some well established risk factors. The key messages for primary prevention of oral cancer are:

– Quit smoking or the use of any form of tobacco

– Keep within recommended guideline for alcohol consumption – Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

Dental practices provide a great opportunity to initiate discussions and advice about smoking ces- sation, reduced alcohol consumption and the benefits of good nutrition. During your routine oral examination your mouth will thoroughly assessed and receive a cancer screening.

Ciro Gilvetti

Dr Ciro Gilvetti DDS, MFDS, AFHEA, MClin OS, Dip OM

Specialist Oral Surgeon

Associate Specialist

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Queen Victoria Hospital

Associate Clinical Lecturer

University Collage London


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