Our grateful thanks to the Oral Health Foundation for their input to this weeks report, which you can hear again further down the page. Our thanks also to NHS Choices for the use of the information below.
Cancer can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, and other sites located in the head and neck area.
Every year in Europe, around 100,800 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancer and almost 40,000 die from the disease.These forms of cancer have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma.
Oral and pharyngeal cancer are the sixth most common malignancies reported worldwide and have high mortality rates. Mouth and oropharyngeal cancers are more common in older people. However, an increasing number of young people are being affected and 25% of the cases have no associated significant risk factors.
They are also more common in men than women. But rates of these cancers in women have been increasing in recent years.
Although there have been significant improvements in chemotherapy and surgical techniques, mouth cancer is often particularly challenging to treat since most patients present with advanced disease, have secondary tumours and suffer from other co-morbidities.
In the UK, the survival rate is just over 50%, despite treatment, and this is because of late detection. Early diagnosis gives patients a 90 per cent chance of survival.
In its very early stages, mouth cancers can be almost invisible making it easy to ignore.
Regular visits to your dentist will ensure you are professionally screened for signs of mouth cancer. Talk to your dentist about the process and mouth cancer risk factors.
Spotting the signs - It is important to perform regular, self-examinations to help in the early identification of mouth cancer, which include;
The most effective ways to prevent mouth cancer from developing – or prevent it reocurring after successful treatment – are
Listen to this weeks radio report
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