Posted by Joanne Mellor
A university in Scotland is hosting an oral health event designed to raise awareness of mouth cancer, which is on the rise in the UK and is now the country’s sixth most common cancer.
As part of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week, the University of Dundee is set to host an event at which dental experts will be offering advice to members of the public on Monday afternoon (November 5th).
Simon Shepherd, of the University of Dundee Dental School, described mouth cancer as a major oral health issue, adding: “Oral cancer affects more people than testicular and cervical cancer combined.”
Awareness of mouth cancer is often low among members of the public, despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of new cases diagnosed in the UK every year.
“Early detection and treatment of the disease is vital. In addition we need to be raising the awareness of the risk factors and what people can do to help prevent the disease,” said Mr Shepherd, who noted individuals should look at limiting the amount of alcohol they consume, as well as adopting a healthier diet and not smoking, in order to reduce their risk of developing the disease in the future.
Smoking and alcohol are the two main risk factors for mouth cancer, so those who drink to excess on a regular basis and also smoke are at a much higher risk of going on to develop the disease later in their lives than those who do not smoke or drink.
The university has also offered tips on how to spot oral cancer symptoms while the disease is in the early stages, while one of the signs to be on the lookout for is red or white patches.
Ulcers that do not heal within two weeks may be another sign of a presence of mouth cancer, while numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth is another symptom.
According to the NHS, oral cancers can develop in the salivary glands, tonsils and the part of the throat leading from your mouth to your windpipe.