Oral cancer - more common than you think

The World Health Organisation estimates oral cancer is the eleventh most prevalent cancer in the world.  Often associated with smoking, what is alarming is the incidence of oral cancers in non-smokers in Australia - 20% of cases affect non-smokers.

“Every day, at least three Australians are being diagnosed with oral cancer. Survival rates for oral cancer remain low despite advances in treatment and this can be attributed to late detection. Recognising the risk factors and signs of oral cancer is vital to better prognosis and outcomes,” says Chairman of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt.

“Early detection of oral cancer can save lives, so it’s important to know what you should be looking out for in your mouth.

  • Ulcers or lumps in the mouth that do not heal within two weeks should be treated with suspicion.
  • Changes in the colour of oral tissues
  • Unexplained pain, tenderness or numbness
  • Rough, thickened, crusted or eroded areas on the tongue, mouth or lips

Checking for the signs of oral cancer is a part of the regular check-up procedure carried out by your dentist, so it’s vital to visit your dentist regularly.  Risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Smoking; >80% of oral cancers in Australia occur in people who smoke
  • Alcohol; more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion, increases your risk of mouth cancers
  • Extended exposure of lips to sun
  • Poor diet; consuming a diet low in or with no vegetables
  • Exposure to Human Papilloma Virus

If you have any concerns about potential oral issues or oral cancer, please take action and make an appointment with your dentist today, it may just save your life!

call bcdental 9589 2675