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Stark warning as UK mouth cancer cases reach record high

by Evesham Dental, on 21st December 2020 | Comments Off on Stark warning as UK mouth cancer cases reach record high

As we said on our recent Evesham Dental Health Team blog, Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place every November to help raise awareness of this debilitating cancer.

Our Worcestershire dental practice offers free mouth cancer screening to our wider community all through the year and our patients are screened at every dental health examination, as standard, to ensure their peace of mind. For the vast majority, there is nothing to worry about.

However, the findings of a new report paint a very different national picture, as new cases of mouth cancer in the UK have risen to a record high. Figures collected by the Oral Health Foundation show that 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease last year, increasing by 97% since 2000.

Mouth cancer cases in the UK have soared for the 11th year in a row and have more than doubled within the last generation.

The findings are part of the charity’s new State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2020/21 and were released to coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes with mouth cancer cases continuing to rise, more must be done to raise awareness of the disease.

Dr Carter says: “While many cancers are seeing a reduction in the number of people affected, mouth cancer is one of very few that is sadly going the other way. Established risk factors like smoking and excessive alcohol have been joined by emerging causes like the human papillomavirus (HPV). This has changed the profile of the disease quite considerably over recent years and mouth cancer can now affect anybody.

“The disease can have a devastating and lasting effect on a person’s life. It can change how somebody speaks, it makes eating and drinking more difficult, and often leads to changes to a person’s physical appearance. Because of this, it also takes a heavy toll on a person’s mental health too.

Facts and figures

  • Statistics from governing health bodies across the UK show around two-in-three (67%) mouth cancers are recorded in men while three-in-four (78%) are in the over 55’s.
  • Mouth cancer is most likely to occur in the tongue, contributing to more than one-in-three (34%) cases. Mouth cancer can also appear in the tonsils, the roof and floor of the mouth, lips and gums.
  • The early warning signs of the disease include mouth ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth, or unusual lumps and swellings. Persistent hoarseness could also be a symptom.

If in doubt get checked out

  • Spotting mouth cancer early is crucial for beating the disease. Early detection boosts our chances of survival from 50% to 90%.
  • Depending on where the cancer strikes, the one-year survival rate for mouth cancer is between 60% and 84%.
  • Survival rate after 10 years drops to between 18% and 57%.

If you have ANY concerns, please contact us immediately.

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