The Mouth Cancer Foundation encourages everyone to perform a monthly two-minute self-examination to identify any troubling signs of the disease. This would enable an earlier diagnosis, swifter treatment and a greater chance of survival.
The self-examination involves feeling the face, neck, lips, gums, cheeks and tongue, the open mouth floor and roof area.
During the two-minute check, you’re on the lookout for lumps, red or white patches, changes in colour or texture, lingering ulcers or anything unusual.
In fact, if you look inside of your mouth and notice an ulcer, or a white or red patch, keep an eye on it.
What puts you at increased risk of mouth cancer? The Mouth Cancer Foundation lists six factors.
Firstly, “tobacco use is the main cause of mouth cancer,” said the charity.
Secondly, “drinking alcohol to excess can increase risks four-fold”; thirdly, drinking and smoking together can make mouth cancer “up to 30 times more likely to develop”.
Fourthly, poor diet and social deprivation are linked to a third of all cancer cases.
Most HPV infections are fought off by the body’s immune system and cause no symptoms.
HPV mouth cancers tend to appear in the back of the mouth area, back of the tongue, tonsils or oropharynx (the back of the throat).
They often have a “strawberry-like surface appearance”, so do keep an eye out for that.
For more information on mouth cancer, please do visit Mouth Cancer Foundation.