Soft tissues: checking for cancer

A routine part of your regular dental examination is for us to check the soft and hard tissues in your mouth for signs of cancer. Often we find bumps and lumps that are not cancerous and heal on their own. Sometimes we find lesions which are obviously not cancer, but we don’t know what they are, so we will refer you to the local hospital where the dentists who work in the hospital will check you over.

Unfortunately, because the survival rate for  oral cancer is much poorer than for other common cancers like cervical cancer – early diagnosis is important.
Even in patients with dentures and no teeth, they should still attend regularly for a dental examination with their dentist, which will include a soft tissue cancer test. If you have any sore or ulcerated places in the mouth, these should be looked at promptly by your dentist.

More information can be found at Mouth Cancer Foundation website

Skin cancers

Occasionally we identify and refer patients to hospital for skin cancer lesions, particularly a type called a ‘rodent ulcer’ or else a basal cell carcinoma. This usually presents as a scab which doesn’t heal over a period of weeks or months. This type grows very slowly and is easily removed; it does not spread through the body and often affects the face or ears – so we might spot them.

If you have any concerns about any bumps growinglumps which change, or scabs which don’t heal – whatever it is, it is much easier to fix when it is treated early, so please see your doctor or dentist sooner than later.

Usually they will be able to reassure you that it is nothing to worry about and you can put your mind at rest.