The event, which takes place every year throughout November, is organised by leading dental health charity the British Dental Association to raise awareness of mouth cancer and share the important message of being mouthaware.
Over the last year, 8,337 people in the UK were given the life-changing news that they have mouth cancer, making it one of the most prevalent forms of cancer among the UK population. To put this into perspective, the disease now claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined, and numbers are continuing to rise.
The more you know about mouth cancer, the better the chances you have of beating it. This means it is important to know how to spot mouth cancer early and know where to go when you see something out of the ordinary. You can also reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer by cutting down on the things that cause mouth cancer. In the UK, the biggest risk factors are tobacco and alcohol.
Mouth cancer can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips and may present itself in many different ways. In some patients, mouth cancer can simply appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally, while for others what begins as a white or red patch in the mouth may develop into a cancer.
It is extremely important to be aware of any unusual lumps in your mouth or jaw area, soreness that does not heal, and any persistent hoarseness. If you have any doubt, don’t take a chance – arrange an appointment with your dentist or GP urgently.
Dentists are trained to recognise the early signs of mouth cancer. This means mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dental team during a thorough dental examination, especially if it is present in areas of the mouth that you cannot see yourself. The chances of a cure are better the earlier cancer is detected and treated, but sadly many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.
If you’d like to find out more about mouth cancer, there is lots of information about mouth cancer on the Oral Health Foundation website, which also has many free downloadable materials.
Website last updated: July 2022
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