Oral health: Sign when eating of mouth cancer – symptoms to spot

Dr Sara Kayat discusses ants that can smell cancer

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Pain or difficulty when swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is one sign of mouth cancer.
Other symptoms of the condition that can appear are:
• Sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks.
• Unexplained and persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
• Unexplained and persistent lumps in the lymph glands
• Changes in the voice or problems with speech
• Unintentional weight loss
• Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
• One or more teeth become loose for no obvious reason
• Difficulty moving the jaw
• Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth.

While the appearance of these symptoms may seem unnerving, the NHS says: “Many of the symptoms can be caused by less serious conditions, such as an infection.

“However, it’s strongly recommended that you see a GP or dentist if any of the symptoms have lasted longer than 3 weeks. It’s particularly important to seek medical advice if you drink or smoke regularly”.

Furthermore, the NHS also says that as well as seeing a GP, a dental check up may also reveal any potential problems: “It’s important to have regular dental check-ups, particularly if you smoke, drink heavily, chew tobacco or chew betel nut.

“Your dentist may be able to detect mouth cancer during your examination. You should have a dental check-up at least once every year”.

One of the reasons it is important for people get a dental check up if they smoke or drink regularly is because smoking and drinking are the two leading causes of mouth cancer.

Both of them are carcinogenic meaning they can cause cancer.

Meanwhile, there has been a development in how mouth cancer can be diagnosed.

Normally a biopsy is used to test for the cancer, but now a new testing method has been created that borrows technology from another deadly virus.

PCR tests have become a common feature of everyday lives in recent years.

However, they can also be used to detect oral cancer.

Known as qMIDS, it is the world’s first rapid oral cancer test.

Developed by Queen Mary University of London, the test has been approved for use in the UK.

Co-leader of the study, Professor Iain Hutchinson said: “qMIDS dramatically improves our management of mouth cancer and its pre-cancerous state, saving lives and healthcare costs.

“Surgeons and dentists anywhere in the world can use this test for minimally invasive tissue samples because all it needs is a PCR machine and the technician who operates it”.

As a result, patients could get crucial results much faster and therefore begin life-saving treatment sooner.

For more information on mouth cancer contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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