Oral Cancer Now the Tenth Most Common Form of Cancer in Men

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Oral cancer is now the tenth most common form of cancer in men, according to Cancer Research UK.

The most recent statistics from 2012 show that 7,300 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2012. This equates to an increase of 2,800 cases from 2002. The figures show that mouth cancer is much more prevalent in men than women. Of the 7,300 cases diagnosed in 2012, 4,900 involved males. Mouth cancer is only the 15th most common form of cancer in women.

Around 90 percent of cases of mouth cancer are linked to lifestyle choices, with 65 percent linked directly to smoking. The difference in prevalence in men and women is connected with higher smoking and drinking rates in men. However, statistics suggest that more and more women are being diagnosed with mouth cancer. Other risk factors include alcohol, HPV (human papilloma virus) and a diet lacking in vitamins and minerals.

The release of the figures is timely, as Mouth Cancer Action Month is currently underway. This annual campaign, run by the British Dental Health Foundation and the Mouth Cancer Foundation, aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and encourage people to visit their dentists for routine check-ups and oral cancer screening.

In light of the significant increase in cases of oral cancer in the last 12 years, Cancer Research UK has also launched a new kit for doctors and dentists, which helps to highlight early warning signs and enable professionals to diagnose cases at an early stage.

Head and neck surgeon Professor Richard Shaw was involved with the development of the kit and hopes that more cases will be prevented or diagnosed at the earliest stage.

Lead GP at Cancer Research UK, Dr Richard Roope, said the figures are alarming and more needs to be done to educate people about the causes of oral cancer and encourage healthier lifestyle choices. He described alcohol, smoking and HPV as a “toxic cocktail” that people need to be wary of.

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