Mouth cancer, sometimes called oral cancer, is characterised by the development of a tumour in the lining of the mouth.
If a dentist has any reason to believe you may have mouth cancer, they will refer you to a specialist who can make a definitive diagnosis. Mouth cancer screening is not reserved for patients who are already presenting with symptoms of the disease. We regularly screen our patients for mouth cancer, even if they have no symptoms, to detect the disease in its early stages.
A tumour can grow anywhere within the mouth, including the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the gums, the lips, or on the roof of the mouth. Over time, mouth cancer can spread around the mouth or other body parts. If left untreated, mouth cancer can become life-threatening.
You might notice tiny bumps inside your mouth, tongue, lips, or gums in its early stages. Other common symptoms include persistent sores in the mouth or on the lips and loose teeth.
As the disease develops, you may experience soreness in the mouth, discomfort or difficulty swallowing, white or reddish patches inside the mouth, earache, numbness, and changes in your speech.
Mouth cancer can affect anyone, although it is most common in those between 50 and 74 and tends to be more common in men than women.
Your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs or symptoms of mouth cancer, and they may refer you to a specialist for additional tests if they find anything suspicious.
During your screening exam, the dentist will check the inside of your mouth for abnormalities such as red and white patches, mouth sores, and unexplained lumps and bumps.
Following the procedure, if your dentist has noticed any signs of mouth cancer, they may refer you to a specialist.
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