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Aug 7, 2018

Scandinavian dentist provides pointers to stem oral cancer

By: Mariecar Jara-Puyod | April 22, 2018 | Gulf Today

ABU DHABI: A Scandinavian second generation dentist based in Abu Dhabi has raised the alarm against oral cancer and has given tips to address this common but neglected disease since April is the Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

From the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Oral Health Programme files, it was known that oral or mouth cancers are a “kind of head and neck cancer.”

One of these is the oropharyngeal cancer or throat cancer, the 11th most common cancer worldwide.

Signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus, are sores or blisters at the back of the mouth; difficulty in speech, swallowing and breathing; neck swelling; loss of appetite and weight; and weakness.

According to the “Global Burden of Oral Cavity and Pharyngeal Cancers” paper, oral cancers include tumours located on and which affect the “mucosal surfaces of the mouth, salivary glands, oropharynx, nasopharynx, and hypopharynx (collectively the part of the throat behind the mouth).”

Estimated annual global deaths attributed to oral cancers are at over 520,000. 

As WHO noted that 90 per cent of oral cancers are a result of tobacco use including smoke-less and e-cigarettes as well as excessive alcohol consumption, experts who had researched on the global burden of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers considered tobacco chewing and betel-quid chewing with or without the cigarette as risk factors as well.

“Other emerging factors include diet low in fruit and vegetable consumption and poor oral hygiene.”

The experts who analysed population-based cancer registry data in the Middle East and Africa found that the most common causes of oral cancers in the region are cigarette/toombak and khat smoking, mate and alcohol.

The predominantly affected organ for these oral cancers is the tongue. 

The highest incidence rates are in Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius and Botswana.

From Abu Dhabi, Sno Dental chief executive officer Dr Per Rehnberg said: “Oral health is important to overall health. We believe regular check-ups can help prevent oral cancer by helping detect it earlier than ever before.

“The best way to manage and treat an oral cancer diagnosis is by combining early detection of the disease with timely treatment.”

With over 30 years of work as a dentist in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Rehnberg, who grew up with a dentist-father, added: “While oral cancer is not a rare disease, it is particularly dangerous because it tends to go unnoticed.

“The potential for death is significantly reduced if cancer is detected early, making treatment easier, less invasive and more than 90 per cent curable.”

Rehnberg who has followed his dentist-father’s approach that being the best dentist is to incorporate “one-third science, one-third craftsmanship and one-third patient care” has the following tips against all forms of oral/mouth cancers:

• Refrain from using tobacco products. Smoking has been linked to many types of cancer including that of the head, neck and oral cavity.

• Brush the teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. This will extricate cavities/gingivitis/halitosis-causing bacteria.

• Floss the teeth twice a day. Evening flossing will remove the bacteria that will feed on food particles. It will prevent bad breath.

• Check the mouth personally every month in good light for non-healing ulcers, bleeding, abnormal patches and swellings which are signs and symptoms of oral cancers.

• If the non-healing ulcers, bleeding, abnormal patches and swellings prevail and become unresponsive to treatments for over a month, go for the dental check-ups again.

• Go for bi-annual dental check-ups or every six months.

• Avoid too much exposure to sunlight or wear a protective lip balm with sun protection factor to prevent lip cancer.

• Consume lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts every day. Go for regular physical exercises.

• Limit or better yet cut out alcohol consumption.

Sno Dental in the capital is offering free screenings until April 26.



By Mariecar Jara-Puyod

April 22, 2018

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