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NHS patches Ôfail to help quitters’

Mouth cancer cases on the rise

Posted by Allie Wright

The British Society for Oral Medicine (BSOM) has teamed up with leading charity Cancer Research UK to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

Both organisations have issued a joint statement on the issue, alongside other partners which include the Chief Dental Officers of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and the British Association of Oral Surgeons.

In the message, they have warned that the number of patients who are being diagnosed with the disease is on the increase.

According to the groups, there has been a notable rise seen among women and younger people  – with a “significant increase” seen in patients aged under 45 over the last 20 years.

The definition of mouth cancer covers a range of different variants of the disease which occur around the head and neck.

In an attempt to let more people know what to look out for, the BSOM has said: “The signs and symptoms of mouth cancer can often be seen or felt, and any red or white patch, ulcer, or lump can be an early sign if it lasts for three or more weeks.”

It has also urged anyone who thinks they may have symptoms to contact their “dentist, doctor or another health professional without delay”. 

Dental marketing can play an important part in raising awareness among patients by alerting them to these early signs in waiting rooms. Information like this is not only informative and useful to people visiting surgeries but can also be used to emphasise the important relationship between a dentist and their patient.

Around 75 per cent of cases are linked to either the smoking or chewing of tobacco, although another common link to the disease is through exposure to the human papillomavirus. 

Drinking alcohol in excessive quantities and spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection can also contribute towards an increased risk factor.

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