It's important to diagnose mouth cancer early

Leading health charity and mouth cancer campaigners, the British Dental Health Foundation, want you to help give a voice to those who find it difficult to be heard this World Cancer Day.

Thursday 4 February marks World Cancer Day 2016. The global campaign will spread the message that we can take action to help prevent and fight cancer.

Under the headline ‘We can. I can' the campaign explores how everyone  - as a collective or as individuals - can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, explained why support for mouth cancer patients is so important: "For people who beat mouth cancer the recovery period can be an extremely difficult time. Some patients require surgery which involves the jaw, tongue, mouth, lips and throat, all of which can have a huge impact on their day to day lives.

"After treatment, patients may have problems with breathing, swallowing, drinking, eating and indeed speech, with it occasionally being lost altogether.

"But it is not just physical changes which can lead patients to lose their voice; these changes can also lead to depression, difficulties in communication, low self-esteem, social isolation and relationship problems, sometimes causing as much distress as the cancer itself.

"But, compared with other types of cancer, mouth cancer often does not get the same level of attention. Mouth cancer claims more lives every year than cervical and testicular cancer combined and given the disturbing rise in cases over the last decade it is critically important that we are more aware of the disease."

On World Cancer Day show your support through social media by using #WeCanICan and posting facts about mouth cancer. All the information on mouth cancer you need can be found through the British Dental Health Foundation website,www.mouthcancer.org/facts-figures.

With mouth cancer, early diagnosis is vital as it can dramatically improve the chances of survival from 50 to 90 per cent.

It is therefore important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer and visits their dentist immediately if they have any worries.

"We need to be aware of any changes in the mouth; such as mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual swellings or lumps in the head or neck area," added Dr Carter.

"Mouth cancer rates are on the increase in the UK and it is now the 10th most common cancer in men and 15th most common in women1 but if current trends continue is on track to rapidly move up the list, shockingly mouth cancer rates have increased by a third in the last decade alone.

"World Cancer Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this cruel disease. In many ways it's a silent killer. So please help give mouth cancer patients a voice and make a difference by raising awareness of mouth cancer globally."

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