November is… Mouth Cancer Action Month 17-11-2016

2016 may be drawing to a close, and your thoughts may now well and truly be set on Christmas. However, before you start that present shopping, spare a moment for your oral health. November is Mouth Cancer Action Month. This awareness month is led by the Oral Health Foundation, who aim to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this disease, in order to promote earlier detection, and save lives. So, before you dive in to all things Christmas, spare a moment to check you know what you’re looking for with regard this unpleasant illness.

With over 7,000 people being diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2015, this is certainly not a disease you want to take your chances with. The number of cases is also on the increase: over the last ten years, the number of new cases each year has grown by a third. More than 2,000 people lose their lives to mouth cancer each year: that’s more than the number of people killed on our roads over the same time period. Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to educate people about the risk factors and the signs to look out for, in order to try and prevent cases, and diagnose others at an earlier stage. Earlier treatment leads to better outcomes.

There are 3 key signs to look out for:

  • ulcers that hang around. If you have an ulcer that has still not healed after 3 weeks, get it checked out
  • patches in your mouth that are red or white
  • lumps or swellings. As well as appearing in your mouth, you may also notice these in your head or neck area

In the event that you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or GP immediately to make an appointment. They will be able to undertake a full examination and advise on next steps if required.

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer. However, over 90% of cases are found to be linked to lifestyle choices. The following factors are considered to increase your likelihood of developing mouth cancer:

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Poor diet
  • Second-hand smoke

Visit the Mouth Cancer Action Month website for much more information about the disease. You’ll find details about what you can do to prevent it, how to check yourself for signs and symptoms, and how you can get involved in the events and activities planned for the months. There are a variety of activities going on so do get involved.

So, as the sound of Christmas carols and songs start to ring in the air this year, spare a thought for your oral health. Being aware of any changes that take place, and the signs and symptoms to look out for. A timely visit to the dentist or your doctor really could make all the difference.

For more details visit the Mouth Cancer Action Month website: http://www.mouthcancer.org/