Mouth cancer action month

Hello again, I hope that you are safe and well.  We have made great strides in getting back to as close as normal as we can in terms of seeing people and treatments.  Feedback continues to be great and people are appreciative that we are here to help in a safe way.  It’s been hard work but worth it.

Be Vigilant

Recently, everything has been about Covid-19.  However, we must not forget our general health and other health issues.

Some of this has been side lined in healthcare for a while because of the pandemic emergency. 

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month.

A few statistics:

•    Last year, 8,337 people in the United Kingdom were diagnosed with mouth cancer.
•    This means that 23 people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer every day.
•    Mouth cancer is the 15th most common cancer in the UK.
•    In men, mouth cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, with around 5,454 new cases a year.
•    In women, mouth cancer is the 16th most common cancer in the UK, with around 2,666 new cases a year.
•    Most mouth cancers occur in the tongue.  These make up around one in three cases for men and women.
•    Mouth cancer is strongly associated with age. More than three in four (76%) mouth cancers are diagnosed in those over the age of 55.

So What Causes It Then?

Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking are the main forms of tobacco use in the UK. However, the traditional ethnic habits of chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous.

Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are consumed together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips.

Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body.

HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer.

Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.

You Are What You Eat

Over a third of mouth cancer is attributed to a poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals.  So, non-processed fruit and vegetables are very important.  Vitamins and plant chemicals help prevent oxidative stress in the body.  As a bit of an aside we encourage Vit D3 and Vit K2 to improve the immune system and bone metabolism/healing when we do dental implants.  Vitamin D3 is a strong antioxidant and can mop up free radicals that are linked with cancer.

I was on a course a short while back presented by a French general surgeon and pain specialist.  He said that 65% of health care workers in France were vitamin D deficient.  Wow!  I think some of this is due to hospital workers not getting any daylight.  So supplements can help, especially in the winter months regarding vitamin D.

What Should We Be Looking Out For?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips. Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer, as can any unusual lumps or swellings. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.

I hope that you can get back to having your dental examinations and any other examinations that you usually have for that matter.  Look after yourselves and eat well.

Until next time.  Take care and be good.