5 October 2018

Dentist, Dr Mehrdad Mokhtari, has conquered the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity and awareness of mouth cancer.

Dr Mokhtari, of Priory Dental Practice in Bedford, took on this almighty challenge alongside his daughter Ematice, raising more than £2,100 for Mouth Cancer Action.

Standing at an intimidating 19,341-foot-tall, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and is an enormous task for even the most intrepid climber.

Speaking about the achievement, Dr Mokhtari said: "The last seven days have been amazing and the views breath-taking.

"The final push to the summit took us six hours of hard trekking in the pitch black. We reached it just in time to see the break of dawn over Africa.

"Thank you to everyone for your generous support. I must admit, a few times I did think of giving up but the fear of letting everyone down and not delivering my part of the bargain kept me going."

Dr Mokhtari climbed the Tanzanian mountain to support Mouth Cancer Action, a charity campaign from the Oral Health Foundation.

Over the last ten years in the UK, the number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer has increased by more than a third.  Smoking, drinking alcohol to excess and the human papillomavirus (HPV) – transmitted through oral sex – are all leading risk factors for the disease.

"As a dentist, I have seen first-hand an increase in the number of possible mouth cancer cases," added Dr Mokhtari.

"This reaffirms the fact that it's causes, and relative ease of early diagnosis, need to be more widely talked about."

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, praised Dr Mokhtari and says it is important for everybody to be aware of any unusual changes in the mouth.

Dr Carter said: "What Dr Mokhtari and his daughter have accomplished is absolutely incredible. It is undoubtedly a huge physical, emotional and psychological challenge and we are incredibly grateful for their commitment to helping fight mouth cancer.

"Mouth cancer is one of the few cancers which continues to see the number of cases increase but sadly, awareness of the disease remains frightfully low.

"It is important that we perform regular checks to the head, neck, lips and mouth. We should be looking for long-lasting mouth ulcers, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps and swellings.

"If you notice anything unusual, please don’t hesitate. Make an appointment with your dentist or doctor."

During November, the Oral Health Foundation is running Mouth Cancer Action Month – a campaign dedicated to raising awareness of mouth cancer and promoting the early warning signs and symptoms.

Click here to find out more about mouth cancer and how you can support November's Mouth Cancer Action Month.