14 January 2015

Mouth Cancer Action Month is over for another year, but the organisers are encouraging everyone not to wait another 12 months before taking action.

Oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation hopes the general public and healthcare professionals continue to be ‘mouthaware' and check for signs and symptoms as well as taking steps to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and more recently the human papillomavirus (HPV), often transmitted via sexual practices, are all associated with an increased risk of developing mouth cancer.

More than 1,000 people registered their interest in the campaign, with hundreds of thousands of health professionals helping to educate the public about the disease. For the first time the Blue Lip Selfie showed its pout, and more than 1,000 people got involved on social media.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, urges everyone to use the campaign as a springboard for year-round action on mouth cancer.

Dr Carter said: "I would like to thank everyone who took part in this year's campaign. Mouth cancer rates increased yet again, and we are approaching statistics that make for very grim reading. More than 2,000 people now lose their lives to this silent killer, more than cervical and testicular cancer fatalities combined.

"The campaign is a vital platform for dentists to talk to patients, for patients to talk to their family and for family to talk to friends. Knowing the signs and symptoms is the only way collectively we can catch the disease. Many of the people who have told their stories have mentioned a symptom to a family member and have been prompted to visit the dentist on the back of it.

"Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth should make people take action. Our advice to everyone is extremely simple - if in doubt, get checked out."