It is a shocking fact that mouth cancer is the sixth most common malignancy reported worldwide. Mouth cancer is more likely to strike people over 40 years of age, but an increasing number of younger people are being affected by the disease. It is more common in men than women, but again this gap is closing. Major risk factors for mouth cancer include smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet, but around 25% of cases have no associated risk factors. Symptoms include a sore or ulcer that doesn’t heal within three weeks; numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth; and difficulty in swallowing.
Early diagnosis and treatment significantly increase your chances of survival, but a major challenge of mouth cancer is that it is typically almost invisible in its early stages, and so hard to ignore.
- A sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
- A feeling that something is caught in the throat