A new report compiled by the Oral Health Foundation has shown that mouth cancer rates are at a record high. In 2019, there were 8,722 people diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK. This is a staggering 97% increase since the year 2000.
This is the eleventh year in a row that mouth cancer cases have risen. Here, we’ll look at the findings in light of Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Understanding the findings
The latest study was carried out by the dental charity as part of its State of Mouth Cancer UK report for 2020/21. Governing health body statistics were used to compile the report, which reveals that 67% of mouth cancers occur in men. Also, 78% of mouth cancer patients are aged over 55.
However, the good news is that seeking early treatment boosts survival chances by 50% to 90%, making it important for people to understand the symptoms to watch out for.
What is mouth cancer?
Also known as oral cancer, mouth cancer causes a tumour to grow within the mouth. It is most commonly found on the tongue, but it can also develop on the roof of the mouth, the inside of the cheeks or at the back of the mouth.
The main symptoms to watch out for include:
- Painful mouth ulcers that don’t heal
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Unexplained persistent lumps in the neck or mouth
- Speech changes
These are the most common symptoms to be aware of. If they don’t go away within three weeks, you should consult your GP. There are different types of mouth cancer and it is categorised by the cell the cancer grows in.
Around 9 out of 10 mouth cancers are squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. However, you could also suffer with lesser common forms such as sarcoma, adenocarcinoma and oral malignant melanoma.
What causes the disease?
There are a number of risk factors associated with the likelihood of developing mouth cancer. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive levels of alcohol, are known to contribute to mouth cancer.
Most recently, it has been linked to HIV, or the Human Papillomavirus. An unhealthy diet can also contribute, alongside poor dental hygiene.
The purpose of Mouth Cancer Action Month
Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of the condition. It also gives charities the chance to fundraise to try and combat mouth cancer through research. This year, you can get involved by joining the Blue Ribbon Campaign or organising a fundraiser of your own.
Mouth cancer is a devastating disease that is proving to be on the rise. It is important to detect the condition as early as possible for successful treatment and undergoing regular dental check-ups can help to identify any issues with your oral health quickly. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to arrange an appointment at CK Dental.