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A dental practice has supported oral cancer awareness and offers free screenings for the disease.
Maltings dental practice, based in Commercial Road, Grantham, is supporting Oral Cancer Action Month.
Part of these efforts included the team taking part in a 10km walk from their home around the Belvoir Valley to raise money for the cause.
Oral Cancer Awareness Clinical Ambassador Jason Wong also took part in a 10K in Hyde Park, London, held in September.
The practice offers free oral cancer checks to occasional non-regular patients. To take advantage of this, please call the office to reserve in November.
Donations can be made by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maltings-dental-practice
Oral cancer is where a tumor grows on the surface of the tongue, mouth, lips, or gums. Tumors may appear as a lump, ulcer or red and white spots lining the surface of the lips/tongue/cheeks.
Healing ulcers should also be treated suspiciously as they can also be a form of oral cancer.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are the main risk factors for the development of oral cancer. Chewing tobacco used in crops can also be the cause. Recent links to HPV (human papillomavirus) and oral cancer have also been shown to be a significant contributing factor.
People whose diet lacks fresh fruits and vegetables are also at increased risk.
Seventy-eight percent of cases occur in people over the age of 55. The incidence has increased by 49% over the past 10 years.
Oral cancer is twice as common in men as in women, although increasing numbers of women are being diagnosed with the disease.
The five-year survival rate has not improved much in recent decades due to late detection.
How can I reduce my risk of mouth cancer?
1. Maintain a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish.
2. Don’t smoke.
3. Do not exceed recommended alcohol consumption guidelines.
4. Visit your dentist regularly. As most forms of oral cancer are often painless and asymptomatic, your dentist plays a vital role in examining your oral soft tissues and watching for warning signs and can refer you to the local specialist service if they are concerned about areas.
Louise Butler, Practice Leader at Maltings, said: “Remember that the earlier the detection, the lower the spread and the better the results of treatment.
“If you have any concerns, you should ask your dentist.
“It’s really important that all patients continue to come in for their dental check-ups, including patients who have a full set of false teeth, so that we can continue to check for oral cancers.
“Cancers of the mouth and throat can grow and spread quickly.
“If anyone has any concerns, just call our reception team, we’re more than happy to take a look, you’re not ‘wasting our time’ or ‘being dumb’.
“We are here to reassure you and, if necessary, help you get on the right track if further treatment is needed.
“If in doubt, get checked out, watch out for the mouth.”