This November its Mouth Cancer Action Month, during this month citizens of the UK come together and attempt to raise awareness for this life altering disease that is so often overlooked.
The Oral Health Foundation has been promoting Mouth Cancer Action Month since 2000, the foundation has invested nearly £2 million on improving the awareness and education surrounding mouth cancer.
Oral or mouth cancer is a general term that includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of mouth and throat. Raising awareness of oral cancer is crucial, as currently the disease is not widely known or understood when compared to many other cancers. This month the goal is to raise this awareness because in many ways oral cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers out there.
Shocking Oral Cancer Facts and Statistics
- In the UK there were 8,302 new cases of oral cancers in 2018, and 2,722 deaths from it
- Oral cancer claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
- The mortality rate of oral cancer is over 50%, higher than breast cancer, cervical cancer or melanomas
- Mouth cancer kills one person every 3 hours in the UK
- Oral cancer causes more deaths annually than road traffic accidents in UK
- As well as the very high possibility of death, sufferers of oral cancer experience facial deformities, damage to tongue and throat and as a consequence difficulty talking and eating
Significant Causes of Oral Cancer
- Use of tobacco is the highest cause of oral cancer
- High alcohol consumption combined with smoking can increase the risk of diagnosis up to 30 times
- Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that HPV could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer.
What are the Signs
- Mouth ulcers that do not heal within 2 weeks
- Unexplained lumps in mouth or neck that do not go away
- Pain when swallowing
- Changes in voice or difficulty speaking
- Weight loss
- Bleeding or numbness in mouth
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty moving jaw
- Red or white patches on lining of mouth
Should any of these symptoms persist for longer than 3 weeks you should seek medical advice, these symptoms may be unlikely to be cancer however you should always check. Regular visits to your dental team are very important. Attending appointments regularly makes it more likely that any mouth problems will be caught as early as possible, including oral cancer. Chances of survival from oral cancer is drastically improved if the cancer is detected early and treated rapidly. Every appointment with a clinician at Park Place Dental Practice includes a full oral cancer screening.
How to Get Involved
To help spread the awareness of oral cancer many people wear blue ribbons throughout the month of November, or similarly wear blue lipstick!
Visit www.dentalhealth.org/mouthcanceractionmonth2019 for more fun ways to get involved! You can also help out a tremendous amount by simply spreading the word about oral cancer; by telling your friends, sharing this blog or sharing a social media post on the matter.