Bradford community dental team backs oral cancer campaign

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Ahead of the launch of Mouth Cancer Action Month, the community dental team at the Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is working to raise awareness of oral cancer. 

The team, which provides dental care across the region, will be donning blue smiles and participating in activities and events to educate people about oral cancer and encourage patients to attend regular check-ups. Mouth cancer has become increasingly prevalent across the UK, but the vast majority of people are still unaware of the main symptoms and risk factors. 

The latest figures show that more than 8,300 cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in 2018, and this represents an increase of over a third in the last decade. As more and more people are diagnosed, health experts are keen to raise the profile of the disease and ensure that more cases are caught early. As awareness is so poor, the majority of patients are only diagnosed at an advanced stage. Spotting symptoms early and being mouth aware can increase survival rates by up to 90 percent.

Oral health lead at the foundation, Sharon Walker, said that it was crucial to make people more aware of the lifestyle factors that elevate oral cancer risk and to make sure that patients can spot potential warning signs. 

Common symptoms to look out for include red and white patches in the mouth, abnormal swelling and pain, unexplained bleeding, lumps in the throat and slow-healing ulcers. To lower the risk of developing oral cancer, patients are encouraged to avoid smoking and excessive drinking, to eat well and to attend routine checks every 6-12 months. 

Throughout November, practices all over the country will be supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month, a national campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation and the Mouth Cancer Foundation.

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