Mouth cancer is a type of oral cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums and tongue.
Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol.
Symptoms of mouth cancer are very similar to those associated with other forms of oral cancer. It can often be mistaken for a cold that won’t go away, or a persistent sore in the mouth. Other mouth cancer symptoms and signs may include:
Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In the last year more than 7,000 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago (Oral health foundation).
The treatment depends on where in your mouth or oropharynx your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body and your general health. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy are the different solutions used to treat the mouth cancer.
The chances of a full recovery following mouth cancer are very good if it is caught in the early stages. Your dentist inspects your mouth thoroughly for mouth cancer at every check-up and might also examine your neck for swellings. If your dentist has any concern that you may have mouth cancer, you will be rapidly referred to a specialist who will re-examine you and, if indicated, will organise further tests.
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