Dr Ben Atkins BDS


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Dental Education

Mouth Cancer Action Month

31st October 2016

So tomorrow sees the start of the annual Mouth Cancer Action Month. It is organised by the Oral Health Foundation, each November.

The purpose is to raise awareness that cancer can occur in the mouth. Here, the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

The annual campaign hopes to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage. This will happen by educating the public on the risk factors, the signs and the symptoms. at the same time, it will encourage the public to discuss oral cancer with their dental professional.

Early signs!

Given that early detection is so crucial for survival, it’s extremely important that we all know what to look out for. Three signs and symptoms NOT to ignore are:

  • Ulcers which do not heal in three weeks.
  • Red and white patches in the mouth.
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.

If any of these are noticed, it is essential that you tell your dentist or doctor immediately.

This is what my fellow Oral Health Foundation Trustee and CEO, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says. “The chances are that we all know at least one person who has been diagnosed with cancer. And we recognise the hurt and pain it can cause both physically and emotionally. Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life.  It impacts areas of a person’s life many of us take for granted.

It affects our ability to breathe, eat, drink or even speak . it can also lead to subsequent problems like nutritional deficiencies and depression. Often difficulties in communication, low self-esteem, social isolation and the impact on relationships and career can cause as much distress as the cancer itself.

Unfortunately, survival rates for those with mouth cancer have not improved in the last 30 years.  By being ‘Mouthaware’ and spotting mouth cancer early enough we will give patients the best possible chance to beat mouth cancer and have a good quality of life.”

Learn more at the Oral Health Foundation’s dedicated website for mouth cancer action month

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