There are more than 300 new cases of cancer of the mouth reported in Ireland every year. This figure is increasing by 3% every year.
Roughly half of all mouth cancers are diagnosed at an early stage which greatly improves the chances of survival.
How can you make sure your mouth stays healthy?
Visit the dentist regularly even if you wear dentures. Many suspicious lesions are found in older patient’s with none of their own teeth left, and increasing age is a risk factor. Medical card holders are all entitled to a dental examination every calendar year as are patients qualified on the PRSI dental scheme.
When brushing your teeth look out for any changes in your mouth or neck. Early warning signs include ulcers that do not heal in 3 weeks, red or white patches and swollen glands without any obvious cause.
Make sure to use a factor 50 sunblock on the lips in sunshine.
Eat a healthy diet, 5 a day fruit and vegetables. A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E can help cut down the risk of developing cancer.
Avoid the preventable risk factors which include:
Excessive exposure to sunlight (lip cancer)
Chewing tobacco/Pipe smoking
A diet lacking in fruit and vegetables
HPV virus can be spread through oral sex and is now known to be implicated in oral cancer