More than half of us are more frightened of developing mouth cancer than other cancers.
Almost two in three (61.3%) admitted to being scared of dying from cancer and just over half (50.3%) say, the thought of developing mouth cancer is more frightening than other cancers.
This is perhaps not surprising considering the many vital functions your mouth carries out and the potential effect on physical appearance.
A further three quarters (75%) don’t think they’re at risk from mouth cancer, even though it’s one of the few types of cancer on the rise.
The research, conducted on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation and Denplan, highlights the acute lack of awareness in the UK in regards to mouth cancer.
It is estimated that over the next decade around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer.
Without early detection, a practice made possible by regular dental visits and free oral examination events across the country, an estimated 30,000 people will die.
Throughout November Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms of mouth cancer. Cases of mouth cancer have increased by 50 per cent since the turn of the millennium, and Henry Clover, deputy chief dental officer from Denplan, believes this statistic should be enough to prompt public action.
Dr Clover said: ‘Given that more than half of people we asked said mouth cancer was more frightening than other cancers, I would hope this concern translates into action.
‘Mouth cancer can severely affect some of the very things we take for granted. Speaking, eating, drinking and breathing can all be affected by radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery resulting from the disease.
‘Throughout the campaign we urge everyone to take action and visit their dentist. They are in the best position to check your mouth thoroughly for signs and symptoms of the disease. Many Denplan dentists are opening their doors in local communities and holding a free screening event. You can find out more details on the campaign website.’
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, highlighted the risk factors and explained what people should look out for.
Dr Carter said: ‘Tobacco use and drinking alcohol to excess can increase the risk of developing mouth cancer by up to 30 times. Experts forecast the human papillomavirus (HPV) will overtake smoking as the principle cause of the disease within the next 10 years, and almost half of cases in the UK have been linked to poor diet.’
For details on screening events near you and for further information about Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org.