News & blogs Blogs and vlogs Let’s talk about mouth cancer on World Cancer Day 4 FEBRUARY 2019 Today is World Cancer Day. The campaign is all about what you can to reduce the impact of cancer, the second-leading cause of death worldwide. Our charity has been supporting World Cancer Day since it first began back in 2011. Each year usually takes on a different theme to build awareness, but 2019 is a little different. For the next three years, World Cancer Day will be communicating the message “I Am and I Will”. The call-to-action urges each of us to take action today so that cancer has less of an impact tomorrow. It’s no secret that cancer is a devastating problem around the world. It claims the lives of almost ten million people each year and causes untold emotional and physical pain to many more. There may not be a quick fix but there are things we can do to help create a more positive future. So, what can be done? One of the biggest barriers we have for combatting cancer is awareness and education. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest and most effective ways that we have reduce cancer rates and improve survival. Sharing knowledge of risk factors and the early signs of cancer is vital. Stopping cancer from happening in the first place is preferable but catching cases early could also be life-saving. Mouth cancer is a key example of this. Despite the consistent rise in the number of people diagnosed, less than one in ten of us are confident in our knowledge of the disease. Key information about the causes of mouth cancer and how to spot the disease early can put a halt to the rising numbers, but simply not enough of us are armed with the knowledge. This is where you can help. We urge you to help us communicate life-saving information about mouth cancer, a terrible disease that, for thousands of people, restricts their ability to speak. Let’s come together and be their voice. Each and every one of us can play an active role in transforming the landscape of cancer across the globe. For those who are already clued up on mouth cancer, spread information about it in any way you can. For those who aren’t sure or those who would like to know more, here is everything you need to know about the disease. Preventing mouth cancer Tobacco and excess alcohol consumption are two of the biggest risk factors of mouth cancer. To lower your risk, quit smoking or smokeless tobacco and stay within the recommended weekly alcohol limit of 14 units. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is predicted to become the leading cause of mouth cancer in the coming years. It is transmitted through oral sex. By limiting your number of partners and practising safe sex, you can help lower your risk of mouth cancer. Sun exposure can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. Use a good protective sun cream and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips. A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body protect itself from most cancers. Catching mouth cancer early Keep an eye out for any changes in your mouth. Given the time we spend in front of the bathroom mirror brushing our teeth, this one should be easy. The most common signs to look out for are: Mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks. Red and white patches in the mouth. Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your dentist or doctor immediately. Mouth cancer can strike in a number of places including the lips, tongue, gums and cheeks. Take action by booking an appointment with your dentist or doctor, if you notice any unusual changes in these areas. Regular visits to the dentist are crucial, especially if you smoke or drink. They can see spaces in your mouth easier than you can and may spot a problem before you notice it. Get involved with World Cancer Day and together we can make a difference. Share your activity on social media using #WorldCancerDay and #IAmAndIWill. If you share mouth cancer information, make sure you use #MouthCancerAction and #Mouthaware. For more information about the campaign, visit the official website at www.worldcancerday.org. To get more information about mouth cancer, visit www.mouthcancer.org.