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Is your job putting you at risk of mouth cancer?

Most of us are full of reasons why we dislike our jobs. The long hours, irritating colleagues, bosses from hell; there are plenty of reasons to hate your career. However, here’s one you might not have realised: your job could be giving you cancer!

This is according to research from the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), which has discovered that many people’s jobs indirectly expose them to the risk factors for mouth cancer. These include tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is often transmitted via oral sex.

The organisation conducted a survey and found that around 25 per cent of people regularly eat processed foods at work. Some 20 per cent said sun exposure was a regular occurrence, with the same percentage encountering second-hand smoke on a regular basis. Finally, 30 per cent said they drank alcohol as part of their job.

All of these are immediately recognisable as among the risk factors for mouth cancer. The survey participants also did little to reduce the chances of contracting cancer. Only one in four exercised regularly, for example.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF, said: “Working can be quite stressful at times, and it’s entirely understandable that people want to come home and relax. The problem with this is that many of the ways to relax actually increase the chances of developing mouth cancer.

“The idea of a takeaway after a long day at work may sound great, but fast food is one that can cause all sorts of problems, including mouth cancer. The same applies to alcohol and smoking.”

The stress you encounter at work can seriously affect your health if your response to it is to develop unhealthy habits. It is important to look out for the signs of mouth cancer, visiting your dentist or GP if you spot anything worrying.

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