A couple of weekends ago Keith and I were out for dinner with a group of good friends.  We don’t get together very often and as usual it was a great night – one of those where the wine is flowing, everyone is on form and the chat is just hilarious, bordering on ridiculous!  I’m pretty sure the other diners were glad the restaurant had given us a private room to eat in – even just the volume of the chat was probably quite off-putting!

At one point during the night I was telling everyone how Keith had been feeling particularly smug before we’d gone out because he was going to be the only person still in his 30s at the table that night!   His 40th is in 2 weeks, so he won’t be feeling smug for long!  And the chat fell to his birthday and what he might like for a present.

One of our friends, who’s a little older than the rest of the group, was told us how he received a lovely present just a couple of days after his 50th.  It came in an envelope and he thought it was a birthday card.  You can imagine his disappointment when he opened it to find his bowel screening card!  If you ever needed something to make you feel your age – that’s it right there!  Once again I’m sure the other diners were glad of our quarantined area, as the conversation turned to – how do you actually do that?  Do you need a pair of latex gloves?  The joys of what we have in store in 10 years time!  Our friend was pretty keen not to do it, and we all rounded on him – “You must, you must, it might save your life.”  But it’s easy for us to say that when we’re sitting there in our early forties, not having to contemplate the realities of doing it.  Then the thought… what about the poor postman handling all these samples?!  Make sure you seal it well!

Hopefully you’ve noticed that November has been Mouth Cancer Action Month. And I’m pleased to tell you that screening for mouth cancer is so much easier than for bowel cancer!

You might not even have noticed your dentist doing it in the past, but we’re getting much better now at telling you that’s what we’re looking for when we look at your tongue, cheeks, soft tissues and neck lymph nodes, hoping to raise everyone’s awareness.  And it’s not something that we have to wait until your 50 to screen for, we do it every time you come in for a dental health check, no matter your age.  That’s important because mouth cancer is starting to become more common in young people who are otherwise healthy.

Although smoking and alcohol are risk factors, mouth cancer can affect anyone.  As I said we check your mouth every dental health check, but you can check your mouth yourself in between and contact us if you have any concerns.

Here’s what you should look out for:
  • A mouth ulcer which lasts more than 3 weeks.
  • Unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
If you’re 50 and over I would definitely encourage you to return your bowel screening card, but it’s good to know that mouth cancer is a lot easier to check for – no latex gloves required (well not for you anyway!)

Any concerns about your mouth, no matter if you think they seem trivial, call our team on 01236 421103.  It could save your life.