In support of Mouth Cancer Action Month that runs until the end of November, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s community dental service has been raising awareness with health professionals and the general public on the potential warning signs and symptoms of mouth cancer, as well as the factors that could put people at risk.
In the UK, more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, according to the Oral Health Foundation. The disease has grown by a third in the last decade and remains one of the very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years.
Factors such as tobacco, drinking alcohol to excess and poor diet increase chances of developing mouth cancer.
The community dental service team will also attend a self-care event, for carers who access the Trust’s services, at the Trust’s Carers Hub on Tuesday 22 November from 10am – 12noon. The team will pass on key messages to carers aimed at reducing the risk of mouth cancer, what to look out for, and what to do if symptoms persist. They will be supported at the event by Bradford Stop Smoking Services smokeless tobacco team.
As well as raising awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month, the community dental service team offer a dental service for people across the district that are unable to access treatment by a ‘high street’ NHS dentist due to additional needs such as learning disabilities, challenging medical conditions and for people who are housebound.
Sarah Wimpenny, Senior Oral Health Promoter commented: “The team will be available to provide information and advice on mouth care. Early detection is key and we encourage people to check their mouths regularly, and visit the dental surgery immediately if they notice anything abnormal.”
The warning signs of mouth cancer are:
- Red, white or speckled patches in the mouth that can’t be wiped off
- Mouth ulcers or sores that take longer than three weeks to heal
- A lump or thickening in the mouth
- Problems chewing or swallowing lasting more than three weeks
- A sore throat that lasts longer than three weeks
To reduce the risk of mouth cancer:
- Check your mouth regularly and visit your dentist or GP immediately if you notice anything unusual
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco
- Don’t drink more than the recommended limit of alcohol
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
If in doubt, get checked out!
For further information visit www.mouthcancer.org