London dental hygienist raises awareness of link between oral cancer and HPV

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A dental hygienist from London is raising awareness of the potential consequences of having unprotected sex. Anna Middleton, founder of the London Hygienist, is keen to ensure people understand the link between HPV and oral cancer, as the number of cases increases in young people. 

Many people are aware of the risk of STIs when they have unprotected sex, Anna said, but awareness of oral cancer and its connection with HPV (human papilloma virus) is very poor. The most common risk factors for mouth cancer are drinking heavily and smoking, but there has been an increase in the number of cases in younger people who don’t drink or smoke as a result of exposure to the HPV. Around 1 in 4 cases of oral cancer are linked to HPV. 

Anna said that it is crucial that people are aware of the potential dangers of HPV exposure, and that they understand that mouth cancer is becoming more common, especially among younger people. The number of cases has almost doubled in the last decade, and despite advances in technology and treatments, survival rates have stalled. This is largely due to the fact that most people are unaware of the risk factors and symptoms. 

Anna is encouraging the public to attend regular dental check-ups, which include oral cancer screening as standard. Anyone who notices symptoms such as slow-healing ulcers, swelling, abnormal pain or bleeding, difficulty swallowing and red or white patches in the mouth or throat is also advised to see their GP immediately.

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