Mouth Cancer Action Month is the charity campaign taking place every year in November which aims to raise awareness so that more people know how to spot mouth cancer early and make any changes that can lower their risk.
Whether it is talking about the risk factors, the early warning signs or the benefits of early detection, raising awareness can make a real difference for improving education and ultimately saving lives.
Three signs and symptoms not to ignore are:
- Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks.
- Red and white patches in the mouth.
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.
We are all recommended to get into the habit of checking our mouths for signs of cancer. If you spot any of these common symptoms you should see your dentist or doctor immediately.
A mouth cancer check can be done at home and it takes less than one minute. It is a good idea to get into the habit of regularly checking yourself for the early signs of mouth cancer, especially in the time between dental visits. Take the time to perform a self check for mouth cancer every month.
Watch this step-by-step guide for doing a mouth cancer check at home.
Mouth Cancer Checks at Devonshire House
All of our appointments include a free mouth cancer check so if you are concerned about any changes in your mouth please make an appointment to see us.
Mouth cancer does not discriminate. It really can affect anybody. However, it is strongly associated with the age and
gender of a person. Mouth cancer is more likely to be found in men over 40. Lifestyle is also important, with around nine in every ten cases linked to risk factors like tobacco and alcohol. This shows just how much of an influence our daily choices and habits can have on our overall health. But by amending them, making small steps towards healthier day-to-day choices, we can help cut the chances of developing mouth cancer.
The five key risk factors that we want to encourage people to address are:
- Tobacco: This is the leading cause of mouth cancer. Tobacco transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.
- Alcohol: Drinking of alcohol is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth in women. Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.
- HPV (the Human papillomavirus): The world’s most common sexuallytransmitted virus is being linked to the growth of mouth cancer cases and is expected to become the leading cause of the disease in the near future. In September 2019, the UK Government took a big step towards tackling HPV by offering all boys aged 12 to 13 the HPV vaccine. Previously, the vaccine was only given to girls. For progress to be made in reducing the prevalence of HPV it is vital that there is good uptake of the vaccine.
- Diet: Research shows that a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.
- Chewing or smokeless tobacco: Smokeless and chewing tobacco like betel quid, is not a ‘safe’ alternative to traditional cigarettes and is very common across Asia, Europe and the USA.
For more information on the benefits of stopping smoking click here