SMOKING and ORAL CANCER
Oral cancer constitutes about 6.5% of all cancers in Australia. More Australians die from oral cancer than cervical cancer every year. Early detection of cancer always has a better prognosis in terms of its treatment outcome. That is why during your checkup, part of our routine examination is to check for oral cancer. It is also important that you tell your dentist/doctor if you have any concerns.
Oral cancer can sometimes mimic an ulcer, appear as a red/white patch or a firm swelling. Sometimes, it can be painless and this is why people delay their examinations. If you think you have any of these symptoms, get it checked out as soon as possible*.
- persistent ulceration - unexplained ulcers that last for more than 2 weeks
- a persistent or growing lump or bump that shouldn’t be there
- fixation of tissues
- white patches in the mouth
- neck lumps or swellings
It is well documented that smoking has a strong link with an increased risk of oral cancer, throat cancer and lung cancer. Smoking tobacco releases over 4000 chemical compounds into the mouth and air. It is no surprise that a smoker will have a 10 – 20x higher chance of developing cancer than a non-smoker. In the mouth, the most commonly affected areas are lips, under the tongue, the tongue itself, the cheeks and the palate.
It is also important to note that heavy smoking, high consumption of alcohol, poor oral hygiene and age are risk factors for cancer.
If you need any help in stopping smoking, contact us or stop smoking organisations such as www.stopsmoking.com.au.
*Not all white patches/lumps and bumps are cancerous in nature. Most are due to trauma or infection, but it is important to get all symptoms checked out.