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Patient awareness of mouth cancer is a must

Practices may want to use Dental marketing leaflets to advise patients about the risks of mouth and neck cancers and regular checks which can be carried out in order to spot the signs early.

More than 16,000 people are affected by head and neck cancers in the UK, according to the British Dental Health Foundation, and mouth cancers in particular are on the rise.

However, a new study has indicated that taking a regular low dose of aspirin could help to cut the number of instances of head and neck cancer by almost one quarter.

That is according to data collected by the National Cancer Institute, which conducted a large-scale investigation of the effect of aspirin and ibuprofen on the risk of head and neck cancers.

The study found that people who took a low dose of the medicine on a weekly and monthly basis were 22 per cent less likely to develop the disease, with a reduction in the number of throat cancers benefiting the most.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter said: “Mouth cancer cases are increasing, so this piece of research is encouraging. Regular aspirin use has been linked to preventing a number of cancers, and if it is a particularly successful practice for warding off mouth cancer, it should act as a springboard for more research.”

Nevertheless, Dr Carter warned that while the results were encouraging, people should not be “fooled” into thinking that taking aspirin counteracts the disease.

On the contrary, the results showed that for those who smoke, drink alcohol to excess, have a poor diet and are at risk of picking up the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the use of aspirin will be redundant.

Signs and symptoms to look out for include red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps and swellings. As mouth cancer can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips – it could be a painless ulcer that does not heal properly, for example – it is important to have regular dental check ups.

The good news is, that if spotted early, survival rates are almost 90 per cent.

Posted by Allie Wright

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