With November Mouth Cancer Action Month, the Quit Squad is calling on people who smoke, vape or chew to realise that using tobacco is a lifestyle choice which significantly increases their risk of developing mouth cancer.
Around one in five people in the UK currently smoke and two thirds of mouth cancer cases are linked to smoking tobacco. Recent figures show that the condition has increased by a third in the last decade. Experts predict this will continue to increase in coming years.
As a result, the Quit Squad, which is delivered by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council, is encouraging people who smoke, vape or chew to contact the service in order to benefit from free specialist advice. You are up to four times more likely to quit with the help of stop smoking aids combined with specialist help and support.
Helen Hatcher from the Quit Squad said: “In 2011, nearly 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK. That’s a staggering number of 18 people each day. The condition is on the increase and experts say it will continue over the coming years with men more at risk than women. What is even more worrying is that two thirds of cases are linked to the use of tobacco. A morning cigarette doubles the chances of developing the disease and smokers put themselves at almost three times higher risk of developing mouth cancer. People who chew tobacco such as paan and niswar are at risk of developing mouth cancer by 15 times.
“The Quit Squad is here to help. You don't have to carry the burden of quitting on your own—ex-smokers reduce their risk of developing mouth cancers by a third. It has been shown that you are more likely to quit if you get the right support. Whichever method you choose, there are clear benefits from quitting and plenty of support to help you. The Quit Squad provides you with access to a variety of information and friendly support in a range of settings that include drop-in clinics or one-to-one sessions.”
Chewing smokeless tobacco, such as paan, gutkha and betel leaf, is popular in South Asian communities, but all forms of tobacco can harm your health. Using smokeless tobacco raises the risk of mouth cancer and oesophageal cancer; even chewing betel itself without tobacco can raise the risk of cancer.
In addition to drop-in clinics (for which no appointments are required) and one-to-one sessions, the Quit Squad also offers group sessions in the community. For further details, telephone 0800 3286297, visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk, or follow the Quit Squad on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad. For further information on Smoke Free Pledges, telephone 01706 871740 or visit www.lancashiresmokefreehomes.co.uk.
People who wish to refer themselves to the Quit Squad can do so by telephoning the above number or completing the Quit Squad Self-Referral Form that can be found on the home page of the Quit Squad website.