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Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer, also known as Mouth Cancer is where an abnormal group of cells (tumour) develops on the surface of the tongue, mouth, lips or gums. 


  • One or more mouth ulcers that do not heal
  • Red , or red & white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
  • A swelling in your mouth that lasts for more than 3 weeks


  • Smoking – People who use tobacco in any of the commonly available forms i.e. Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes and Smokeless Tobacco
  • High alcohol intake (people who use both tobacco and alchohol are at particularly high risk)
  • Infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Chronic Sun Exposure


There are three main treatment options of Oral Cancer, they are:

  • Surgery – The cancerous cells are surgically removed
  • Chemotherapy – Powerful medications are used to kill the cancerous cells
  • Radiotherapy – High energy X-Rays are used to kill the cancerous cells

The treatments can be given in combinations.

Both surgery and radiotherapy can make speaking and swallowing difficult called Dysphagia. This can be a potentially serious problem. If small pieces of food enter your airways and become lodged in your lungs, it could trigger a chest infection. 

Prevention/Reducing the Risk:

The 3 most effective ways of preventing the development of mouth cancer (or preventing it from reoccurring after treatment) are:

  • Not Smoking
  • Reducing Alcohol Intake
  • Eating Healthy


Top Tips for Helping to Stop Smoking – 

  • Prepare for the day you quit & avoid temptation – Choose a day which will not be stressful and make sure you don’t have any cigarettes or matches on you. Also avoid places and people where they maybe smoking.
  • Remember all the reasons for quitting – Reduce your chances of cancer, better health, overall reduced health risks, cleaner lungs and a stronger heart
  • Use Drug Treatment – Nicotine Replacement Therapies
  • Other distractions to help – Talk to someone for some support, go for a brisk walk – this will help to clear you head and lungs, drink a glass of water – this keeps you occupied for those crucial few minutes of temptation, change scene – just move out of a room or a particular environment can help.
  • Use a health professional for counselling.
  • Last but not least, remember there is NEVER ‘just one more’ cigarette.