Report highlights significant unawareness of oral cancer

OVER 8,300 new cases of oral cancer are now diagnosed in UK adults each year, representing a 49 per cent increase over the last decade according to a new report by the Oral Health Foundation.

The UK’s first State of Mouth Cancer Report highlights that less than half of UK adults can identify common potential warning signs including long-lasting mouth ulcers (42 per cent), red or white patches (31 per cent) and unusual lumps (47 per cent). There is also uncertainty about where mouth cancer appears while more than four in five (82 per cent) adults are unsure how to check for mouth cancer.

Three in five (60 per cent) smokers and almost nine in ten (89 per cent) of those who drink more than 20 units of alcohol a week cannot identify the symptoms of mouth cancer. Men are around 25 per cent less likely to know symptoms associated with mouth cancer compared to women, while a large proportion of over-65s (85 per cent) do also not know what to look for.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: "We have published this report to highlight the need for greater awareness of mouth cancer. It is extremely concerning to see the lack of basic knowledge about the disease, especially as it continues to affect more people every year.

“For so long, mouth cancer seems to have gone under the radar. It is now time for us to take notice and learn what we need to, so that we can help protect ourselves and others around us."