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6 things you need to know about mouth cancer

16th October 2018

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month in the UK, a charity campaign which aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and make a difference by saving thousands of lives through early detection and prevention.

Most people have heard of cancer of the lungs or breasts, but cancer can also occur in the mouth and affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

Here are 6 things you need to know about mouth cancer:

1. Mouth cancer affects around 7,000 people in the UK

Sadly this number has increased by more than a third in the last 10 years, however, if mouth cancer is detected early then the chances of a cure are extremely good.

2. Smoking and alcohol are major risk factors

Although mouth cancer can affect anybody, around 91% of all diagnoses are linked to lifestyle. Many people know that smoking can lead to lung cancer but it can also lead to mouth cancer, as thousands of chemicals in each cigarette can damage the cells in the mouth and turn them cancerous. Smokers are 3x more likely to develop mouth cancer.

Drinking alcohol excessively is another major risk factor. The danger group are the people who smoke and drink excessively, as they’re 30x more at risk of developing the cancer. If this is you, visit us regularly for check ups.

3. Diet is also very important in limiting your risk

Up to half of all mouth cancer cases are partly due to poor diet.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will not only keep your body fit and healthy, it will help to reduce the risk of mouth cancer, as foods containing carotenoids, can actually help to reduce mouth cancer risk.

4. HPV could rival smoking and alcohol as the leading factor in the next 10 years

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus and is also a risk factor for those with multiple sexual partners. Limiting the number of partners you have and practicing safe sex will reduce the risk.

5. The signs of mouth cancer…

Always be mouth-aware and look for any changes in the mouth. For example, painless mouth ulcer, which doesn’t heal within 3 weeks, a white or red patch in the mouth or any unusual lumps or swellings.

6. Visit us for mouth cancer screenings

As well as being mouth-aware, visit us for check-ups regularly, as not only do we check that your pearly whites are doing ok, but we also examine the mouth thoroughly for early signs of mouth cancer.

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