Mouth cancer - do you know the signs?

MAKE sure you visit the dentist at least every two years- that is the message after a month of raising awareness about mouth cancer.

Around 6,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK every year, with one person dying every five hours. The two main risk factors, which causes an estimated 90 per cent of cases, are tobacco and alcohol use. Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting oral cancer by up to 30 times more than people who don’t smoke or drink.

Other habits, such as chewing tobacco and shisha pipe smoking, are also considered risk factors for people of all ages.

Symptoms include painless ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth.

Sue Jordan, oral health promotion manager for Bedfordshire Community Dental Services, said: “It’s so important that we are aware of the early signs for mouth cancer but it is also essential that we act on any of these symptoms by getting them checked out by a dentist or doctor, as early diagnosis and treatment can increase the chances of survival.

“As well as trying to reduce risk factors for mouth cancer (smoking and drinking), it is worth remembering that a good diet, rich in fruit and vegetables can reduce the chances of getting the cancer.”