Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Oral cancer incidence on the rise, reports show

By Dental Tribune International
November 05, 2019

RUGBY, UK/BOISE, Idaho, US: Oral cancer incidence is on the rise globally and awareness of mouth cancer remains low. To tackle the issue, the Oral Health Foundation recently launched this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month at a gathering at the Houses of Parliament and welcomed over 130 people from various organisations. During the event, a range of speakers reinforced the need for greater recognition of mouth cancer and its signs and symptoms.

According to a recent report, more than 8,300 people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year. The Oral Cancer Foundation has predicted that approximately 53,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer by the end of this year. Additionally, the organisation reported that 657,000 new cases of cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx are detected worldwide each year.

Since mouth cancer can leave a lasting impact on patients, both the Oral Health Foundation and the Oral Cancer Foundation support numerous oral cancer-related events to raise awareness of the issue. Factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and human papillomavirus infection increase the chance of developing the disease. Moreover, the incidence of oral cancer increases with advancing age and is twice as common in men as in women. Dental Tribune International has recently reported on a study that indicated that oral cancer might also be associated with gingivitis, as the bacteria that cause the disease might be responsible for the progression of oral cancer. Therefore, it is crucial to spot oral cancer early to boost the chances of survival.

“We want everyone to be more mouth aware during this year’s campaign. This means being able to identify the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer, understand what is more likely to put us at greater risk, and importantly, know where to go if you spot anything out of the ordinary,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation.

“The research we have shows that people do want to be aware of mouth cancer. For patients who aren’t regularly attending their dentist for check-ups, during the month of November we have been encouraging our member dentists to perform free dental and mouth cancer checks,” noted Dr Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Simplyhealth.

“Public awareness programmes, self-examination and well-informed decisions are all pivotal to this struggle. Everyone needs to take an interest, and everyone needs to spread the word,” concluded Dr Philip Lewis of the Mouth Cancer Foundation.

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