November – mouth cancer awareness month


mouth cancer

What is mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer is used to describe a number of cancers that start in the region of the mouth. These most commonly occur on the lips, tongue and floor of the mouth but can also start in the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tonsils and salivary glands. Mouth cancers are generally classified as head and neck cancers.

In the UK 31 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every day. It is the 4th most common cancer in males and the 12th most common in females. Over half of all cases of head and neck cancers are diagnosed in people aged 65 and over. Mouth cancer remains one of the most debilitating and disfiguring of all malignancies.

Mouth cancer symptoms

Symptoms of mouth cancer can include:

  • A lump in your neck
  • Loose teeth
  • Swelling or a sore on your lip that won’t heel
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Changes in speech
  • Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • White or red patches on the mouth, tongue or gums
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Risk Factors

The main risk factors for most mouth cancers are tobacco and alcohol consumption. Other risk factors include:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Family history of mouth cancers
  • Poor oral hygiene and gum disease
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Chewing areca seed or betel nut

Diagnosis and Prevention

  • Self-Examination — Self-examination makes it sound more thorough and complicated than necessary, but in reality you just need to keep an eye out for early signs of oral cancer formation such as the development of lesions, cysts, lumps or ulcers that don’t heal within two weeks. Any abnormal growth or symptom should be reported to your doctor or dentist— no matter how small.


  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly — Skipping the dentist is never a good idea, but when it comes to preventing oral cancer, someone with a well-educated knowledge of the oral cavity (such as your dentist) can help identify any early signs of abnormal growths that may be signs of cancer formation.

In 2014 there were 2386 deaths from oral cancer. Oral cancer is not difficult to diagnose. Early detection of mouth cancer increases survival rates to 90%.
As part of our campaign to support Mouth Cancer Action Month we are offering FREE oral cancer screenings throughout the months of November and December. Our orthodontic team at Ealing, Knightsbridge and Richmond are passionate and committed to increasing awareness of the disease and reducing the number of lives lost to it every year.
To book your oral cancer screening please call us on:

Richmond – 020 8940 5106
Knightsbridge – 020 7584 0733
Westside Ealing – 020 8998 0008


Oral Screening Screening

To perform an oral cancer screening, the orthodontist will take your medical and dental history first. This will include an evaluation of your lifestyle habits such as smoking/alcohol intake.

After the visual observation has been completed, the 2nd part of the screening involves a manual examination or palpation of your neck, mouth area, face, head, and areas where your lymph nodes are found, to determine if any lumps or abnormal growths exist.

Should the orthodontist find anything unusual, additional screening may be recommended.


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