Over his career, Clive has found four suspicious lesions in his patients’ mouths and three of these were malignant tumours. In each case the patient was seen at the local hospital within two days and treatment was started very shortly afterwards.
We routinely screen all our patients for mouth cancer. Some practices make a big drama about doing this screening but Clive prefers to keep it as a calm, low profile element of normal examinations.
Clive has had experience of how being told “there’s nothing to worry about” merely creates worry. Being told that one is about to be screened for any cancer will raise alarm/concerns and preventing such anxiety is why he does the screening as a routine part of an examination. Some practices make a big drama about doing this screening but Clive prefers to keep it as a calm, low profile element of normal examinations.
What causes mouth cancer?
Your risk of developing mouth cancer increases with the amount you drink and/or smoke. Doing both will increase your chance of developing mouth cancer 20 fold!
How will the treatment affect my life?
Many mouth cancers affect the back of the tongue which results in much of that side of the tongue having to be removed. If the result of this sounds like a mediaeval torture, it is with one’s ability to speak, eat and swallow becoming severely restricted. This prevents one being able to socialise (e.g. dining with friends) and can cause one to withdraw from society. Other cancers affect the jaw bone which then has to be removed. Even with brilliant reconstructive surgery, the effects can be as debilitating as above.
How do I find out more about it?
Please ask any of us or pick up some of our Patient Information Leaflets which are freely available to you at the end of the reception desk. You can also visit the Mouth Cancer Foundation website. The group helps to raise awareness of the condition and provides support for carers, patients and health professionals.