Dental expert stresses the importance of routine checks after 29-year-old is diagnosed with oral cancer

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A dental expert has stressed the need for routine dental checks after a 29-year-old in Scotland was diagnosed with oral cancer after finding a lump on her jaw.

Dr Beth Burns, a consultant in restorative dentistry at Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, highlighted the importance of regular dental appointments after a woman from Paisley discovered that a lump on her jaw was cancerous.
A BBC report revealed that Roisin O’Leary contacted a dental hospital after a lump on her jaw started to grow quickly and the surrounding tissue became swollen.

Initially, Roisin assumed that her symptoms were linked to her wisdom teeth, as she had been due to have them removed prior to lockdown. However, even after Roisin was able to have her wisdom teeth extracted, the swelling remained and the lump got bigger. Roisin said that she “kept calling” the hospital informing them that her symptoms were getting worse and in the end, she went in for a CT scan and a biopsy. She was then diagnosed with a form of cancer called osteosarcoma, which is very rare in the jaw bone.

Roisin’s case has underlined the importance of dental appointments and dental experts, including Dr Burns, are keen to encourage patients to keep up to date with routine checks and to be wary of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer.
At the moment, with restrictions on patient numbers, it can be difficult to get an appointment for a standard check-up, but it is essential that patients understand that urgent appointments are available and that GP surgeries are also open. Anyone who has symptoms that may be linked to mouth cancer should seek advice as early as possible.

Symptoms include abnormal lumps or swelling, slow-healing mouth ulcers, red or white patches in the mouth or throat, a persistent sore throat or hoarseness and difficulty swallowing.

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