The Oral Health Foundation is urging people to be more aware of how their lifestyle choices can increase their risk of mouth cancer
The charity is calling for the UK to be more Mouthaware, following new research which shows a systemic misunderstanding of mouth cancer and what causes it.
The newly-published ‘State of Mouth Cancer UK’ report finds that two in three (68%) British adults do not consider themselves to be at any risk of developing mouth cancer, despite many admitting to making lifestyle choices that contribute to the disease.
Fifty percent do not realise tobacco is linked to mouth cancer and just under half (48%) of those who exceed the government’s weekly alcohol intake are unaware that drinking to excess increases the risk of mouth cancer.1
More than three in four (76%) sexually-active adults do not know that oral sex, which is how the human papillomavirus (HPV) is transmitted, is a risk factor of mouth cancer (State of Mouth Cancer UK report).
The charity, currently campaigning as part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, is looking to spread awareness of the causes of mouth cancer, to highlight the importance of recognising whether you are at greater risk.
The chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter OBE said ‘More than half of all mouth cancer cases are linked to lifestyle factors. This includes smoking, drinking alcohol excessively and sexual contact. Our findings show that there is clearly not enough information about mouth cancer and the risks associated with it.
‘Cases of mouth cancer have increased by 135% over the last generation and for those who smoke and drink too much alcohol, the likelihood of developing the disease increases by 30 times.
The good news is that by altering lifestyle choices and making healthier decisions for your body, you can give yourself a better chance of avoiding the disease.’
There are now more than 8,300 new cases of mouth cancer every year in the UK, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing cancers.
Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and save lives by promoting the values of prevention and early detection.
The charity campaign runs throughout November and is sponsored by Simplyhealth Professionals, with further support from Dentists’ Provident.