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At Far Headingley Dental Care we routinely screen for signs of oral cancer as part or our patients routine check-ups. This approach has helped us identify over the years a handful of patients who were then diagnosed with oral cancer. The good news is that all of these people made a full recovery, because it was spotted early enough.

Here is some useful information from the British Dental Health Foundation who are running Mouth Cancer Action this November. As the month draws to a close, we thought it useful to share this information…

Latest figures show that in 2011, there were 6,767 people diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK

That’s 18 people every day – one person diagnosed every 77 minutes

Mouth cancer cases have increased by a third in the last decade…
…and it is one of few cancers that experts predict will continue to increase in the coming years

Mouth cancer is ranked the 16th most common cancer in the UK

The lifetime risk of developing mouth cancer is 1 in 84 for men and 1 in 160 for women

Cancer of the tongue and oral cavity are the most common forms of mouth cancer, followed then by the throat. Lip, neck and other mouth cancers make up the rest of cases

Mouth cancer is twice as common in men than women

86% of cases are diagnosed in those over 50

Mouth cancer rates per population are significantly higher in Scotland compared with England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Rates are much higher in white males, however those in Asian males are similar

More than 90% of mouth cancers in men and 85% in women are linked to lifestyle and environmental factors

Two thirds of mouth cancer cases are linked to smoking tobacco

A morning cigarette doubles the chances of developing the disease

Smokers put themselves at almost three times higher risk
…but cigars and pipe smokers put themselves at greater risk

Ex-smokers reduce their risk by a third

Second-hand smoke significantly increases the risk for those who have never smoked

Smokeless tobacco use can increase the risk of developing mouth cancer by 15 times

Drinking alcohol to excess is linked to around a third of all cases

Those who smoke and drink to excess put themselves at risk by up to 30 times

More than half of cases in the UK are linked to a poor diet

Solar radiation from the sun has been linked to cancer of the lip

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is estimated to overtake smoking as the number one cause of mouth cancers in the future

Mouth cancer is 2.5 times higher in those with periodontal disease
…and is 60 times higher in people with six or more missing teeth

Mouth cancer is 12 to 16 times higher in those who have previous been diagnosed with cancer

Mouth cancer is 70% more common in those whose family have a history of the disease

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