Cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus and other sites located in the head and neck area. These "Mouth Cancers" have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma.
Mouth Cancer Statistics
In the UK, there were 7697 cases in 2004.
The mortality rate is just over 50%, despite treatment, with 2718 deaths occurring in 2005.
Mouth Cancer kills one person every 3 hours in the UK because of late detection.
An increasing number of young people are being affected and 25% of the cases have no associated significant risk factors.
In its very early stages, mouth cancers can be almost invisible making it easy to ignore. You can improve your chances of survival if the cancer is detected early and rapidly treated.
It is important to have self-awareness and to perform regular, self-examinations to help in the early identification of these symptoms:
- A sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks
- A lump or overgrowth of tissue anywhere in the mouth
- A white or red patch or speckling on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in chewing or moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
- A feeling that something is caught in the throat
- A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than 6 weeks, particularly smokers over 40 years old and heavy drinkers
- Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
- Neck swelling present for more than 3 weeks
- Unexplained tooth mobility persisting for more than 3 weeks
- Unilateral nasal mass / ulceration / obstruction, particularly associated with purulent or bloody discharge.
Reduce your chances of getting these cancers by:
Not smoking or chewing tobacco, gutkha/paan etc
Limiting alcohol consumption
Having a healthier "low meat, low fat" diet, rich in vegetables and fruit with servings of bread, cereals or beans everyday.
Information Source: Mouth Cancer Foundation