Mouth Cancer Action Month

IF you are like me and, I should imagine, millions of others, going to the dentist is a bit of a chore – and a painful one at that!

However, it’s becoming evidently clearer a check-up on a regular basis is essential.

The facts and figures below produced for Mouth Cancer Action Month, which is November, are truly shocking and have made me think twice about how often I go to the dental surgery.

- In the UK mouth cancer is diagnosed in more than 5,000 people annually and kills almost 2,000 people each year – one death every five hours.

- It can be stopped with early detection. Professional check-ups and regular self-examinations are the best route and an early diagnosis is proven to save lives, improving survival chances from just half of cases to more than 90 per cent.


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- Early warning signs include ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual changes in the mouth.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems this type of cancer has been off the radar in terms of media attention and public knowledge.

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I had no idea it affected so many people.

One man determined to help raise awareness is Dr Dipak Patel, who is a dentist at Birchwood Dental Surgery, in Hatfield.

He is backing the slogan “If In Doubt, Get Checked Out” and is offering free oral screening examinations on Wednesday, November 18 between 2pm and 4pm.

“We are delighted to get involved in Mouth Cancer Action Month in Hatfield,” he said.

“It is vital that people are aware of the risks and are checked regularly for signs of mouth cancer – early detection saves lives.”

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of campaign organisers the British Dental Health Foundation, added: “Three-quarters of cases are linked to tobacco and alcohol so it is important smokers are encouraged to quit and alcohol is drunk in moderation.

“The human papilloma virus (HPV), transmitted via oral sex, and poor diets are also linked to mouth cancer.

Worryingly the disease is also now affecting a younger group of people and many more who display none of the traditional risk factors.”

For more information visit www.mouthcancer.org or call the Birchwood Avenue surgery on 01707 263270.

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