What’s on the line? A focus on Oral Cancer

Monday 4th February marked World Cancer Day which got me thinking about Mouth Cancer.

8,302 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in the UK last year (dentalhealth.org), which demonstrates a 49% increase in the UK over the last 10 years. It is now the 11th most common cancer in men and 16th in women (cancerresearchuk.org).

Last year, in the UK, 2,722 people lost their life to oral cancer. But… there is something you can do.

91% of oral cancers are linked to preventable lifestyle factors.

  • Smoking and drinking alcohol are the two biggest causes for concern in relation to oral cancer especially when these two are done together. Stopping smoking and reducing alcohol are fantastic ways of reducing your risk of oral cancer, as is;
    • Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
    • Visiting your dentist regularly. Your dentist will check not only your teeth during your regular check-up, but also your tongue, lips and soft tissues, to see if there is anything sinister lurking.

If caught early, oral cancers and lesions are often treatable and the earlier they are diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

If you have any concerns about an unusual lump or bump in your mouth or your tongue, go and see your dentist. Ulcers that do not heal or change shape in two weeks, solid lumps and white patches should also be checked by a dentist.

For more information on finding a dentist near you, please contact Healthwatch Essex Information & Signposting Team by calling 0300 500 1895, text 07712 395 398 or email [email protected]

Guest blog: Samantha Glover, PHE East of England Dental Programme Manager