Oral cancer rates doubled over the last two decades

mouth cancerMouth cancer cases have more than doubled over the last 20 years, research from the Oral Health Foundation shows.

Cases have increased by 135% in the past two decades, with 8,300 UK adults diagnosed with mouth cancer last year.

Despite this increase, 75% of us are unaware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, the Oral Health Foundation claims.

‘In the UK, and around the world, the number of people affected by mouth cancer continues to grow at an astonishing rate,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says.

‘Anyone of us are at risk of mouth cancer, whether we have our own teeth or not.

‘That’s why it is so important to know how and where mouth cancer can strike.

‘Look for mouth ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head and neck.

‘Persistent hoarseness could also be a potential sign of mouth cancer.’

Smokers and drinkers

Awareness of mouth cancer symptoms is particularly low for those groups more at risk, the research shows.

Smokers (60%) and those who drink more than 20-units of alcohol per week (89%) cannot identify mouth cancer symptoms.

The Oral Health Foundation is encouraging patients to check ourselves to spot early signs of mouth cancer.

‘Although mouth cancer can affect anyone, there are certain things that are likely to increase our risk,’ adds Dr Carter.

‘Mouth cancer is heavily linked to smoking and alcohol.

‘A combination of doing both can increase our risk by over 30-times.

‘The human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted through oral sex, is another strong cause.

‘All of us should be knowledgeable and vigilant when it comes to recognising mouth cancer.

‘But those at greater risk need to pay even more attention.’

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