A change in a person’s voice could be a sign of mouth cancer – other warning signs

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A change in the voice is one of those symptoms.

Other symptoms include:
• Pain or difficulty swallowing
• Unintentional weight loss
• Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
• One or more teeth becoming loose for no obvious reason
• Difficulty moving the jaw
• Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth.

While spotting either of these may spark fear and anxiety, the NHS does provide some reassurance.

It advises: “Many of the common symptoms can be caused by less serious conditions, such as infection.

“However, it’s strongly recommended that you see a GP or dentist if any of the problems have lasted longer than three weeks.

“It’s particularly important to seek medical advice if you drink or smoke regularly.”

A dentist can check for any issues at a dental check-up, an event that normally occurs once a year.

Mouth cancer has a number of causes, in the UK the most common causes are tobacco and alcohol.

Other risk factors include chewing tobacco, betel nuts, an unhealthy diet, and the HPV virus.

Meanwhile advances have been made in the diagnosis of mouth cancer.

Queen Mary University of London has developed a PCR test, the same type used for Covid tests, for the disease.

Published in the journal Cancers, the test is known as the Quantitative Malignant Index Diagnosis System, or qMIDS for short.

In a statement on its website, Queen Mary University of London, where the device was developed, said: “Until now there hasn’t been a perfect way to identify the lesions likely to develop into cancer.

“qMIDS diagnostic accuracy would mean that 90 percent of low-risk patients could be discharged from hospital to go back to their dentist or GP for review.

“Or they might be tested in the dentist’s surgery and only referred to secondary care if they were high risk.”

Professor Iain Hutchison said of the test: “qMIDS dramatically improves our management of mouth cancer and its pre-cancerous state, saving lives and healthcare costs.

“Surgeons and dentists anywhere in the world can use this test for minimally invasive tissue samples because all it needs is a PCR machine and technician who operates it.”

Professor Hutchison added: “qMIDS will help us identify patients with pre-malignancies that will never transform to cancer, so they can be reassured and discharged from hospital review.”

If a person experiences any of the symptoms of mouth cancer or notices anything concerning in their mouth they should consult with their dentist or their GP.

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