Are you mouthaware?
November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, which aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer. Are you aware of the signs and risks?
More than 1 in 10 people have not heard of mouth cancer and most people are unaware of the signs or causes. With a 49% increase in mouth cancer cases in the last 10 years, this campaign is so important in raising awareness so more people know what the causes are, and how to reduce their risks by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Recent statistics, released by the oral health foundation, show more than 3 in 4 new cases are in those aged over 55 and particularly men. 56% of cases appear on the tongue or tonsils and early diagnosis increases survival rates significantly, which is why it’s so important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist, as they will be able to spot the early warning signs.
Lifestyle is so important as around 9 in every 10 cases are linked to risk factors such as smoking and alcohol. This shows just how much of an influence our daily choices and habits can have on our overall health.
What are the risk factors?
- Research shows that nearly one third of mouth cancers are caused by drinking alcohol.
- The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of developing any type of cancer.
- Current UK guidelines suggest a maximum of 14 units per week, which is roughly six pints of beer, or five 175ml glasses of wine.
- The risk of developing mouth cancer increases significantly when alcohol is combined with smoking.
- 1 in 6 mouth cancers are directly cause by smoking
- Smoking tobacco in any form (cigarettes, cigars, shisha pipes) increases the risk of developing mouth cancer.
- Chewing tobacco in the form of betel quid or gutkha is particularly dangerous.
- If you want to quit smoking, please visit your dentist, GP or pharmacist for advice and a better chance of success.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer and can be responsible for mouth cancer too.
- It is the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection and can spread through oral sex. It is thought to be the reason behind the fastest growing segment of the mouth cancer population: young non-smokers.
- A poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals can make the skin inside the mouth more prone to developing cancer.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Recent research suggests a significant reduction for mouth cancer risk with each additional daily serving of fruit or vegetables.
- 91% of mouth cancer cases in the UK are linked to lifestyle.
- UV light can come from the sun or tanning beds. Overexposure can increase the chance of cancer on the lips. Avoid sunbeds and wear sunscreen and protective lip cream of at least SPF 15.
Don’t wait any longer… contact your dentist to book your check-up appointment
We are welcoming new patients, so if you’re new to CFD or a registered patient don’t forget you can book your check-up online or call your local practice directly.
Nervous about the dentist or haven’t been for a long time? Don’t worry, we often see patients who haven’t seen a dentist in 10, 20 or even 50 years. Please rest assured, we will be happy to welcome you no matter what. You might be surprised at how much things have changed over the years and your dentist will be very happy to help. Talk to your dental practice about how they work, any concerns you have and how they can help make your visit easier for you.