Cancer Research UK teams up with health professionals to raise awareness of increased prevalence of oral cancer

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Cancer Research UK is working with health professionals all over the country to try and raise awareness of oral cancer. The charity is trying to promote early diagnosis, after figures revealed a significant increase in the prevalence of the disease.

Figures show that the rate of oral cancer in the UK has increased from 8 cases per 100,000 people to 13 in 100,000; this equates to an increase of 68 percent in the last twenty years. Statistics published during Mouth Cancer Action Month show that the prevalence of cases has increased among young and old people, and both sexes.

Smoking is the most significant preventable risk factor, contributing to around 65 percent of cases. Excessive alcohol consumption, a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, and exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection are additional risk factors. Up to 90 percent of cases of mouth cancer are believed to be preventable.

Cancer Research UK’s Jessica Kirby said that the statistics are very worrying, and urged people to be more aware of changes in their mouth. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include red or white patches in the mouth, lumps in the throat, slow-healing sores and ulcers, and lumps on the lips or tongue.

The charity is now working with dentists, GPs and community healthcare staff to try and ensure that more cases are diagnosed at an early stage when treatments are much more likely to be successful. Although oral cancer has become a lot more common in the last two decades, many people are still unware of the causes and symptoms, and this means that they don’t seek help until symptoms have become advanced.

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