News & blogs News Campaigners emphasise the need for self-examination as mouth cancer cases continue to rise 05 December 2016 With Mouth Cancer Action Month 2016 having now drawn to a close, its organisers, the Oral Health Foundation, is challenging you to remain Mouthaware by checking for any unusual changes inside the mouth. The charity has issued the challenge due to the shocking rise in mouth cancer cases in recent years and the continued importance of diagnosing mouth cancer early on a person’s chances of beating the disease. With the majority of us visiting our dentist just once a year, the Oral Health Foundation is concerned that many mouth cancer cases are not being spotted early enough to be treated effectively. As a result, the charity is calling on the British public to be alert to any of the early signs or symptoms of mouth cancer at home and to take action if you notice any unusual changes occurring in the mouth. Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, spoke on the need for greater self-awareness when it comes to maintaining the health of our mouth: “Cancer Research UK has reported a staggering 68% increase in mouth cancer rates in the last 20 years while those of us beating the disease has not improved in that time either. Many of those who lose their life to the disease do so because of late diagnosis, which is utterly heart-breaking. “While visiting our dental practice once a year is a good thing for our teeth and gum health, it is important to monitor the state of our mouth at home as it can be very easy to overlook problems related to mouth cancer between visits and for the disease to develop rapidly. “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating the disease from 50 per cent to 90 percent so it is crucial that we all know what to look out for. Be alert to ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth. “It only takes a few seconds every day to have a good look in your mouth to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. If you have any of the warning signs of mouth cancer it is vitally important that you visit your dental practice or GP straight away, it could save your life.” During Mouth Cancer Action Month 2016 thousands of individuals and organisations have come together to spread vital awareness of mouth cancer. The Oral Health Foundation, along with their sponsors have offered their gratitude to everybody who has been involved with this year’s campaign and has asked for their continued support in fighting back against mouth cancer. Dr Henry Clover, Chief Dental Officer of the campaign’s lead sponsor, Denplan, said: “We have been thrilled at how dental professionals and their patients around the country have got involved this year, whether it has been through the #BlueLipSelfie campaign, open days, or fundraising. “Mouth Cancer Action Month and #BlueLipSelfie are the tools for us to open up and tackle a potentially difficult and emotional subject, and we should make sure that this work continues even though Mouth Cancer Action Month itself has concluded.” Mouth Cancer Action Month, which is also sponsored by Dentists Provident and the Association of Dental Groups, has become an amazing opportunity for health educators, health professionals, schools and workplaces, to increase their important work of delivering oral health education, especially in disadvantaged communities and regions of known poor oral health while delivering greater awareness of mouth cancer. The campaign is a vital platform for healthcare professionals 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 to catch the disease. The advice to everyone is extremely simple – if in doubt, get checked out.