Mouth Cancer Action Month: Risk Factors

Mouth cancer action month is a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer every November. It may shock most people to know that last year 7000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer and it remains one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years.

The campaign informs people of the risk factors and signs to look out for. It’s also encouraged you regularly visit your dentist where an oral cancer screening is completed at every check-up appointment. It is still important for patients who have lost teeth and wear dentures to see a dentist yearly at least for the screening.

Do not wait for your annual appointments and book in to see your dentist immediately if you have any unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth and neck area, mouth ulcers that have not healed in three weeks or any red or white patches in the mouth.

The Risk Factors

Although mouth cancer can affect anybody, 91% of all diagnosis is linked to lifestyle factors:

Tobacco- Around one in five people in the UK currently smoke, which accounts for roughly two in every three mouth cancer cases.

Alcohol- Drinking alcohol to excess is a major risk factor. People who smoke and drink alcohol to excess increase their risk of mouth cancer by up to 30 times. Drinking in moderation is important.

The Human papillomavirus- The Human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted mostly through oral sex, will overtake tobacco use as the main cause of mouth cancer within the next decade. Limiting the number of partners, you have and practising safe sex will reduce the risk.

Diet- Up to half of all mouth cancer cases are partly due to poor diet.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will not only keep your body fit and healthy, it will help to reduce the risk of mouth cancer.

Chewing or smokeless tobacco- Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is a serious risk to a person’s health. Both contain nicotine, which is a very addictive drug. One can of chewing tobacco can release as much nicotine into your body as 60 cigarettes.

Environmental- Mouth cancer risk is 87% higher in those who have never smoked and that have been exposed to tobacco smoke at home or work, compared with unexposed non-smokers.

If you have any concerns or questions about mouth cancer,  call us on 01206 589777