Last month, BBC Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe announced on-air that he was taking a break to deal with a diagnosis of oral cancer. He reassured his fans that “It’s all been caught very early and so everything should be fine. All being well I’ll be back in action in the New Year – or sooner if I feel well enough – but I will be back, you can depend on it.”
Early diagnosis is essential for beating mouth cancer. If caught early, the chance of surviving mouth cancer is nine out of ten, which is why November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month is such an important initiative.
Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, gums and cheeks, and here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:
- Mouth ulcers which fail to heal after a few weeks
- Sores in the mouth that bleed
- Red or white patches inside the mouth
- Lumps or swellings in the mouth or the head and neck area
- Loose teeth
- Tongue pain
- Jaw stiffness or pain
- Difficulty or painful chewing or swallowing
- Sore throat that doesn’t resolve
How to check for mouth cancer
Check if both sides of your head and neck look the same and search for any lumps or swellings that appear on only one side of the face. Press along the sides and front of your neck to check for any tenderness or discomfort.
Pull down your lower lip to check for any sores or changes in colour. Run your finger along the inside to feel for any lumps, swellings or changes in texture. Repeat this process on the upper lip and then check the roof and floor of your mouth.
Then, pull out your cheek and look for darker red or white patches. Place your index fingers inside your cheek, with your thumb on the outside and gently check for any lumps or swellings and any tenderness.
Finally, examine your tongue for any changes to colour and texture, making sure you also check the sides and then the underside by placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
During a routine dental appointment at CK Dental in Bristol we will always check for any signs of mouth cancer but if you spot any changes out of the ordinary then make an appointment immediately.