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Expatriate Healthcare News: Dentists 'can spot mouth cancer'

Expatriates with international private medical insurance may wish to visit their dentist, as it is said these professionals can spot early signs of mouth cancer.

This is according to professor Stephen Porter, director of University College London's Eastman Dental Institute, who claimed these individuals are "often the only primary care providers to know the appearance of a healthy mouth and in turn when something is wrong".

People with suspicious growths or lesions can then be quickly referred to more specialist locations for further investigation, he explained.

The expert noted that oral cancers are generally in unusual areas of the mouth and are frequently solitary and well-defined.

Some members of the public from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan occasionally chew betel nut products, such as paan, which can result in tumours growing on cheeks as they can be carcinogenic, Mr Porter continued.

"The tongue and floor of mouth" are more likely locations for these tumours among individuals from different countries, he asserted.

Unusual patches of red and white or "destructive ulcers" are frequently how oral cancers initially appear, the professor added.

He said these "painless white or white and red areas of the lining of the mouth" can be seen before the tumours develop, which are simple to detect and often solitary.

"There can be other features, but these are the main ones," Mr Porter remarked.

According to registered charity the Mouth Cancer Foundation, this illness most commonly occurs in South Asian nations such as India and Sri Lanka.

Internationally, it is the sixth most regular malignancy and has high mortality rates, the organisation stated.

Every year, 100,800 Europeans are diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck, the group noted, with it causing 40,000 annual fatalities.

Mortality levels for this ailment are slightly over 50 per cent and its five-year-survival rate has barely moved at all in the last few decades.

Most patients with oral cancers have advanced diseases with secondary tumours, the charity pointed out.

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