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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the aftermath leaving NHS dentistry hanging on by the skin of its teeth, we are continuing to see a rise in mouth cancer in the UK, over the last 5 years mouth cancer death rates have increased by almost 20%, and according to many reports this is largely linked to the decline in access to an NHS dentist and late diagnoses.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer also called mouth cancer, develops in the tissues of the mouth, gums, tongue, and throat. Oral cancer is the 9th most common cancer and accounts for 2% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK. The good news is oral cancer is highly treatable if it is detected in its early stages, but understanding the warning signs and being aware of the risks is just as important and could mean your difference in survival.

Small changes make a big impact. How to reduce your risk of oral cancer?

  1. Quitting smoking.
  2. Reducing your alcohol intake.
  3. Eating a healthy diet, having the right balance of different foods and nutrients.
  4. Practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing, and flossing regularly. This also includes visiting your dentists at least once a year.

I’m worried, when should I book an appointment with my dentist or doctor?

Please read our at-home self-examination guide here, it’s important everyone knows and understands the signs and symptoms to better the chances of early detection. But if you have persistent symptoms in your mouth that are worrying you, don’t put off making that appointment. Your dentist or doctor will most likely be able to tell you the reason for your symptoms and devise a plan of treatment.

By raising awareness about this we can together help reduce the impact oral cancer can have on people and their family and friends across the country.

If you need any more information about oral cancer, here are some helpful links: