PEOPLE across the district are being encouraged to look out for the warning signs of mouth cancer.
The community dental service at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is launching an awareness-raising campaign to coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Running throughout November, the initiative aims to make the public more ‘mouth aware’ – and spotlight the factors that put people at increased risk from the disease.
According to latest data from the Mouth Cancer and Oral Health foundations, in the past year 8,337 people across the UK have been diagnosed with the disease.
Cases have risen by a third in the last decade. And it remains one of the few cancers that are predicted to see a further increase in the coming years.
The community dental team – which covers Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven – is urging people to look out for potential symptoms, and get them checked out early if you have concerns.
Possible signs include red, white or speckled patches in the mouth that can’t be wiped off; mouth ulcers or sores that take longer than three weeks to heal; a lump or thickening in the mouth; problems chewing or swallowing that last for more than three weeks, and a sore throat lasting a similar length of time.
There are a number of things people can do to lessen their risk of developing the potentially life-threatening disease, says the team.
Advice includes check your mouth regularly and visit your dentist or GP immediately if you notice anything unusual, stop smoking/chewing tobacco, don’t drink more than the recommended limit of alcohol, and maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Sharon Walker, oral health lead with the care trust, says: “Mouth Cancer Action Month is the UK’s biggest charity campaign to raise awareness of the disease. It’s so important, because mouth cancer kills more people in the UK every year than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
“Spotting the disease early can increase chances of survival. We encourage people to check their mouths regularly and seek medical advice from a dentist or doctor if they notice anything abnormal.
“We also want people to be more aware that some lifestyle choices they make can lead to mouth cancer developing, but our key message is – if in doubt, get checked out.”
For further information visit mouthcancerfoundation.org and follow the community dental service on Twitter @BDCFToralhealth to keep updated with the campaign.