Mouth Cancer Action Month 2017

Family holding hands

We are supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month at Larkham House

Mouth Cancer Action Month is a charity campaign which aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and make a difference by saving thousands of lives through early detection and prevention.

During November the charity is aiming to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by increasing awarness of the risk factors and signs and symptoms while encouraging everybody to discuss with your dentist or hygienist here at Larkham House.

In the UK, more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, the numbers have grown by a third in the last decade and are set to be one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years.

Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease, mouth cancer can affect anybody.

Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women.

What signs and symptoms of mouth cancer do we look for?

As mouth cancer can strike in a number of places including the tongue, gums, lips and cheek it is very important that you know what to look for. If you experience any of these, get it checked out by your dentist or doctor:

  • Ulcers which do not heal within 3 weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck area
When mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.

What are the risk factors

Although mouth cancer can affect anybody, and is strongly associated with the age and gender of a person, around 91% of all diagnoses are linked to lifestyle.

The health implications of smoking are well documented, but mouth cancer often gets overlooked.  The majority of mouth cancer cases continue to be as result of smoking and tobacco use.

Drinking alcohol to excess is another major risk factor linked with mouth cancer – associated with around a third of all cases.  The key is the excess part.  An occasional glass of wine here and there is considered much better than drinking the bottle in a single evening.  Moderation really is important.

The Human papillomavirus
There’s no easy way to say this, but oral sex is becoming a problem.  In fact, many experts believe the Human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted mostly through oral sex, will overtake tobacco use as the main cause of mouth cancer within the next decade.

Up to half of all mouth cancer cases are partly due to poor diet.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will not only keep your body fit and healthy, it will help to reduce the risk of mouth cancer.

Chewing or smokeless tobacco
Although some believe this type of tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is much more dangerous. As well as increasing the risk of mouth cancer by up to four times, it causes problems for the heart by tightening blood vessels and raising blood pressure.  One can of chewing tobacco can release as much nicotine into your body as 60 cigarettes.

Second-hand or environmental tobacco smoke has been named a probable cause of mouth cancer. Studies have also shown that the risk of mouth cancer is more than twice as high in people who have never smoked exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work for 15 years or more, compared with unexposed never-smokers.

Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.