NOTES TO EDITORS
ABOUT MOUTH CANCER ACTION MONTH
Every November, the British Dental Health Foundation organises and runs Mouth Cancer Action Month, under the message ‘if in doubt, get checked out’. Our campaign has become an influential springboard in educating the public about mouth cancer, highlighting the risks, symptoms and causes of the disease.
The campaign is about taking action and raising awareness, particularly among those groups who are most at risk. We want people to look out for ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth, and unusual lumps or swellings while encouraging them to regularly visit a dentist to ensure they’re checked for signs of mouth cancer.
By working closely with the dental and health profession and supporting them in their activities to patients and local communities, we continue to increase mouth cancer awareness and save lives through early detection.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is Sponsored by Denplan and also supported by Dentists’ Provident, plus a number of other professional and commercial partners including Dental Update.
For further information please register your details at www.mouthcancer.org and www.mouthcancerfoundation.org
ABOUT MOUTH CANCER
Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.
Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In the last year 6,767 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago.
Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.
Mouth cancer may affect anybody but many cases are linked to lifestyle choices and certain risk factors increase your chances of developing the disease. These risk factors include:
Smoking: The leading cause of mouth cancer, tobacco transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.
Alcohol: Excessive use is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth in women. Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.
HPV: A sexually transmitted virus which experts suggest could rival tobacco and alcohol as a leading risk factor within 10 years. Those with multiple sexual partners are more at risk.
Diet: New research has suggested that there is a noticeable risk reduction for mouth cancer with each additional daily serving of fruit or vegetables. A healthy, balanced diet is vital.
Smokeless tobacco: Although some people believe this type of tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is much more dangerous. The types of smokeless tobacco products most used in the UK often contain a mix of ingredients including slaked lime, betel (or areca) nut and spices, flavourings and sweeteners.
ABOUT THE BRITISH DENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
The British Dental Health Foundation is the leading national charity working to improve oral health. Our goal is to improve people’s lives by reducing the harm caused by oral diseases – many of which are entirely preventable.
Established more than 40 years ago, we continue to provide expert, independent and impartial advice on all aspects of oral health to those who need it most.
We work closely with Government, dental and health professionals, manufacturers, the dental trade, national and local agencies and the public, to achieve our mission of addressing the inequalities which exist in oral health, changing people’s lives for the better.