Oral & Maxillofacial Consultant, Mr Eiad Qudairat talks to us about oral cancer

10th, November 2014

Latest figures from 2011 reveal almost 7,000 people in the UK developed oral cancer and sadly 1,800 of those people lost their lives to the disease. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the cancer was caught early enough.

Latest figures from 2011 reveal almost 7,000 people in the UK developed oral cancer and sadly 1,800 of those people lost their lives to the disease. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the cancer was caught early enough.

3fivetwo Group

Oral and Maxillofacial Consultant, Mr Eiad Qudairat who specialises in the treatment of oral cancer has advised the public to have regular dental check-ups and to visit your dentist if you notice a new lesion (white or red patch), ulcer, lump or anything in your mouth which seems unusual for more than two weeks.

Mouth cancer cases have trebled in the last decade and it is one of the few cancers that experts predict will continue to increase in the coming years. 1 in 84 men and 1 in 160 women are likely to develop the disease during their lifetime.

In Northern Ireland the head and neck cancer team manages around 288 new cases a year; some of these patients get treated and cured from the disease. Currently we have more than 1710 patients who had a diagnosis of oral cancer, some had their treatment more than 15 years ago, but the majority are still in their first 5 years following diagnosis and treatment.

Mr Qudairat, who has seen various forms of oral cancer said, “Oral cancer is, like most cancers, treatable if diagnosed early enough. Sadly not enough people in Northern Ireland get a regular check up with their dentist so oral cancer can often go undiagnosed until later stages, and that can limit the treatment options we have."
“The most common areas of the mouth affected by oral cancer are the oral cavity and the tongue but it can also affect the throat, lips and neck. In about 86% of cases, those diagnosed are over 50 and statistics reveal that it appears to be twice more common in men than in women.”

There are many risk factors which can increase the risk or oral cancer. More than 90% of mouth cancers in men and 85% in women are linked to lifestyle and environmental factors with smoking being linked to two thirds of cases and drinking alcohol to excess being linked to a third of all cases. A smoker is 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer if compared a non-smoker. An alcohol drinker is 4 times more likely to develop oral cancer if compared to a non-drinker, but what's even more worrying is that someone who smokes and drinks alcohol increases their risk to over 40 times!

The future of oral cancer?

Despite attempts to tackle oral cancer, it is estimated that statistics will follow the current trend and continue to increase.

“We are now seeing a rise in the number of cases of oral cancer linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and expect it to be one of the main causes of oral cancer in the future,” said Mr Qudairat.

“There is a misconception that oral cancer isn’t as serious as other cancers but many people are amazed to find out that the number of people who lose their lives to it outnumbers the deaths from cervical and testicular cancer combined.”

Is raising awareness key?

Early detection of mouth cancer results in a survival outcome of 90% so it is vital that diagnosis is made before it becomes more serious. Delayed diagnosis means survival rates plummet to as little as 20%.

Mr Qudairat said, “Early diagnosis is key when it comes to oral cancer. As an Oral and Maxillofacial Consultant and Surgeon, I often see cases where patients have been referred to me with cases of oral cancer which could have been diagnosed earlier if the patient had had regular dental check-ups. Patients should have a dental check-up every six months to ensure that the teeth and tissues of the mouth are healthy and normal and if your dentist does see something which could potentially be cancerous, you can be reassured that you will then be referred to an oral and maxillofacial consultant for diagnosis and treatment.”

To find out more about Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org

If you are worried about your oral health and would like to book a private appointment, please call 3fivetwo on 0845 60 06 352 or email info@3fivetwo.com for more information.

To find out more about 3fivetwo Group Consultant, Mr Eiad Qudairat, please click here


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