This November College Dental Surgeries are proud supporters of the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Currently mouth cancer is one of the few cancers expert predict will see an increase in diagnosis over the coming years. One person is diagnosed with mouth cancer every 77 minutes, that’s 18 people every day and mouth cancer is currently the 16th most common cancer in the UK, but still many people are unaware of the factors that put them at risk of developing the disease.
Mouth Cancer Risk Factors
Although mouth cancer can affect anybody, and is strongly associated with the age and gender of a person, around 91% of all diagnosis are linked to lifestyle factors. This means that by amending our lifestyle choices, we can cut the chances of developing mouth cancer.
- The majority of mouth cancer cases continue to be linked to smoking tobacco.
- Each cigarette transforms saliva so that it can damage cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.
- Smoking increase your risk of developing mouth cancer by three times compared to non-smokers.
- Smoking cigars and pipes increases this risk further.
- Smokeless tobacco use can increase the risk of developing mouth cancer by 15 times.
- By quitting smoking, you can help to reduce your risk of developing the disease by more than a third. Another great reason to kick the habit!
- One third of mouth cancer cases are linked to drinking alcohol to excess.
- The key is the excess part. An occasional glass of wine is not a problem, drinking a bottle in an evening is.
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) is estimated to overtake smoking as the number one cause of mouth cancer in the future.
- HPV is very common and almost every sexually active person will get HPV at some time in their lives.
- 90% of HPV infections go away by themselves
- Sometime HPV infections can persist and cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells, which can cause cancer.
- Limiting the number of partners, you have and practising safe sex will help to reduce the risk.
- Environmental factors can also increase your risk of developing mouth cancer
- Second-hand or environmental tobacco smoke can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer by 87%, even if you have never smoked yourself.
- Poor diet can also be linked to more than half of cases
- A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will not only keep your body fit and healthy, it will also help to reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer.
More than 2,000 people lose their life to mouth cancer every year in the UK. It claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. The key to improving survival rates is early detection, with 90% of people surviving for more than five years if the cancer is detected early.
If in doubt, get it checked out!