Make 2019 the year you learn about mouth cancer
As reports reveal a significant increase in the number of cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in the UK in the last decade, now is a perfect time to make a resolution to learn about mouth cancer and become more mouth-aware in the months ahead.
Research published towards the end of 2018 underlined a rapid increase in the prevalence of mouth cancer. In the UK, the number of cases has almost doubled in the last ten years. Today, around 8,300 new cases are diagnosed every year, which represents an increase of 49% in the last decade.
Despite the increase in cases, public awareness of this form of cancer is very low, and as a result, many cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment is less likely to be successful. Increasing awareness and educating people about the causes and symptoms of mouth cancer is likely to ensure that more cases are diagnosed early, and it could even prevent some people from developing oral cancer.
If you vow to do anything this year, make sure you see your dentist every 6-12 months, and keep an eye on your mouth. If you notice any changes, or you come across anything suspicious, such as abnormal swelling, slow-healing mouth ulcers or red or white patches, arrange to see your dentist or your GP. Other signs to look out for include a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, unexplained oral pain or bleeding and lumps in the mouth or throat. The most significant risk factors for mouth cancer include smoking, drinking excessively, a poor diet, and exposure to the HPV (human papilloma virus).