Oral cancer affects over 900 Australians each year, according to the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre, yet one leading dental body asserts that it remains one of the least-understood diseases in Australia.
Knowing the signs of oral cancer and spotting it quickly are the key, according to Australian Dental Association (ADA) Oral Health Committee chairman Dr Peter Alldritt.
"Every day, at least three Australians are being diagnosed with oral cancer," Dr Alldritt said.
Dr Alldritt explained that ulcers or lumps in the mouth which do not heal within two weeks should be treated with suspicion.
The ADA is encouraging people to inform their friends and family about the risks of oral cancer and to see your dentist with any concerns you might have.
"Signs of oral cancer is a part of the regular check-up procedure carried out by your dentist, so it’s vital to visit your dentist regularly," Dr Alldritt added.
Dental coverage is included in many private health insurance plans and can cover the otherwise expensive fees involved with regular check-ups.
Unhealthy habits such as a poor diet can contribute to increased risk of oral cancer – but 80 per cent of all oral cancer patients are regular smokers.