How early detection of mouth cancer can save hundreds of lives was the theme behind a major promotion aimed at increasing awareness at an event at the Houses of Parliament hosted by the British Dental Health Foundation.
A call for action was backed by leading experts at a time when in the UK mouth cancer kills one person every five hours, and less than half of those with the disease survive beyond five years after diagnosis.
Young people are particularly vulnerable, with recent studies showing that a lifestyle of drinking, smoking and unhealthy diets increase the chances of mouth and throat cancer, while increasing links between oral sex and the disease have also been discovered.
‘If in doubt, get checked out’ was the theme behind the Mouth Cancer Action Month of November, with the case of superstar Michael Douglas used to emphasize how early detection, supported with regular professional check-ups and self examination, can save lives.
Survival chances for mouth cancer can improve to more than 90% if the signs are diagnosed within the early stages.
Dental Health Foundation chief executive Nigel Carter told the London meeting: “Many people have not heard of mouth cancer, and do not realise how common it is. Latest figures show that over 5,500 cases are diagnosed in the UK in a year, and that men aged over 40 are twice as likely to develop the condition as women”.

Warning signs for mouth cancer include ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, and red or white patches, or unusual lumps or swellings,  in the mouth.

Your dentist or hygienist at the Chattering Class Clinic will always be happy to discuss with you the early warning signs and risk factors of mouth cancer, while explaining the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. It is better for your dentist to spot a symptom that proves to be negative, than to be faced with a difficult case that may have a poor prognosis.