News By Month

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Posted on the 27th November 2014

The Oral Health Promotion Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is raising awareness of the importance of being able to recognise the early signs and symptoms of mouth cancer as part of national Mouth Cancer Action Month.

This year the campaign is running throughout November and focuses on the slogan ‘If In Doubt, Get Checked Out’ to raise awareness of the disease, the common risk factors and early warning signs. More than 6,500 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer every year and it kills around 2,000 people each year; more than cervical and testicular cancer combined. However, early detection by knowing what signs and symptoms to look out for can increase the effectiveness of treatment. As part of this year’s campaign people have been creating their own #BlueLipSelfie on Twitter, which shows their support and help raise awareness of the cause.

Kim Gregson, from the Oral Health Promotion Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Mouth Cancer Action Month provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of mouth cancer. Many people have not heard of mouth cancer and do not realise how common it is.  Four in five people don’t know the symptoms of mouth cancer and low awareness amongst the public leads to people seeking treatment only when the cancer has reached an advanced stage and becomes more difficult to treat. It is vital people take time to check their mouths and if they spot any symptoms which last longer than 3 weeks they should make an appointment with their dentist or doctor."

The main signs to look out for are:

•    A sore or ulcer in your mouth or on your tongue
•    A lump or swelling anywhere in your mouth or neck
•    A red or white patch in your mouth
•    An unexplained pain in your mouth or ear
•    A sore or painful throat
•    A croaky voice or difficulty swallowing

Making some small lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer. Helen McGladdery, also from the Oral Health Promotion Team at the Trust continues:

“Alcohol and tobacco, including chewing or smokeless tobacco, are the main causes of mouth cancer and account for three out of four cases. Choosing to stop smoking and sticking to the recommended alcohol allowance can help reduce the risk of mouth cancer, as well as providing many other health benefits including a reduction in the risk of heart disease and obesity.

“Diet is also key to reducing the risk of mouth cancer, and it is important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. It is also essential that people have regular check-ups at their dentist, even if they no longer have their own teeth, as looking for signs of mouth cancer is part of the examination and referrals can be made to hospital if anything suspicious is found.”

You can find out more about Mouth Cancer Awareness Month by visiting www.mouthcancer.org. For help finding a local NHS dentist please call the dentist helpline on: Central: for routine care call 01772 325100 or for urgent care call 01772 777397. In East Lancashire and BwD for urgent and routine care please call 0845 53 33 230.

You can follow #BlueLipSelfie on Twitter and follow @LancashireCare to see members of staff get involved and support the campaign.

For anyone who would like help in stopping smoking, please contact the Quit Squad on 0800 328 6297 or visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk for more information and friendly advice and support.