Cancer is a terrible disease that does not discriminate. The rarer the cancer, the harder it becomes to understand its complexities and identify treatment options. Mouth cancers are among the rarer cases of cancer in Canada, but it is steadily taking more victims every year.

The Canadian Cancer Institute estimates that by 2017 around 4,700 Canadians will be diagnosed with mouth cancer. By learning more about it, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from contracting this dangerous disease.

What Is Mouth Cancer?

The Dangers of Mouth Cancer

Mouth cancers occur when there is uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in any part of the oral cavity (such as the lips, tongue, or throat). This uncontrolled growth can become a malignant tumour that spreads to other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include the following:

  • Swelling inside the mouth
  • Unexplained gum bleeding
  • Slurred speech
  • Presence of white and red patches in the mouth and lump(s) in the neck
  • Sores on the neck, face, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks
  • Unexplained numbness in any area of the face, mouth, neck, or ear
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw and tongue
  • Hoarseness of voice and chronic sore throat
  • Dentures not fitting

What Causes Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer can strike in any part of the oral cavity and are identified as a “lifestyle disease.” A person’s risk of contracting cancer increases with the following factors:

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  • Tobacco and alcohol. Almost 50 percent of mouth cancer victims are male, especially those who are both smoke and drink alcohol. This mix increases mouth cancer risk.
  • HPV. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that linked the increase of oral cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Researchers revealed that between 2000 and 2012, there was a steady rise in the cancer related to HPV.
  • Diet and sun exposure. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of getting cancer. Those exposed to sun (without adequate protection) have a greater risk of developing mouth cancer, especially on the lips.

 Can We Prevent Mouth Cancer?

Medical and dental technology can now better detect mouth cancer. Because this cancer is usually caused by how we treat our bodies, prevention is possible.

  • Change your lifestyle (avoid tobacco and alcohol).
  • Use sunscreen and protect your body from lip and skin cancer.
  • Be responsible by managing your activities that may increase HPV exposure.
  • Eat a healthy diet composed of fruit and vegetables.
  • Invest in a comprehensive oral care and health plan to keep your mouth healthy.
  • Seek professional advice through regular dentist checkups and oral/dental assessments. This is the only way to detect mouth cancer at an early stage.

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The Dental and Denture Office offers comprehensive oral cancer screenings that will help reduce your mouth cancer risk. Make an appointment with us by calling our office at (905) 815-8208. You may also email us inquiries at info@thedentaloffice.ca.