Mouth cancer rates in the UK have jumped by 64% since 2007, according to figures from the Oral Health Foundation.
Last year a record 8,337 people in the UK were diagnosed with oral cancer.
This marks the 10th year in a row new cases of this type of cancer have increased.
‘While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said.
‘Traditional causes like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are quickly catching emerging risk factors like the human papillomavirus (HPV).
‘The stigma around mouth cancer has changed dramatically.
‘It’s now a cancer that really can affect anybody.’
Oral cancer awareness
Almost nine in ten (88%) of British adults have heard of oral cancer.
Only 21% of people understand what the major risk factors of oral cancer are.
‘This report highlights that, despite the many efforts of health professionals and campaigners, there is still much work to do in tackling oral cancer,’ Dr Catherine Rutland, head dental officer at Denplan, says.
‘Not only are more people being diagnosed but more lives are also lost too.
‘Charities like the Oral Health Foundation do fantastic work to raise the profile of oral cancer.
‘But they cannot do it alone.
‘The more we can equip people with understanding the risks and make lifestyle changes, as well as recognising the signs and symptoms of the disease and seek professional help at the earliest stage, the more lives we can save.’
Mouth Cancer Action Month
These findings, part of the Mouth Cancer UK Report 2019/20, coincide with November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of oral cancer and shares important messages about being mouthaware.
Dental practices and professionals around the UK can become involved through fundraising activities and sharing a #Bluelipselfie.
‘During Mouth Cancer Action Month, we will be raising greater awareness of mouth cancer,’ Dr Carter continued.
‘We urge everybody to become more “mouthaware”, with the ability to recognise early warning signs of oral cancer and awareness of the common causes.
‘Most importantly, if you notice anything unusual, please don’t delay and seek help from a doctor or dentist.’