Kirriemuir Dental Practice is supporting Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout November.
Staff are raising awareness of the disease in the hope of getting the message through to their clients that early detection is the key.
Practice partner Aisling Hanly told the Dispatch and Herald: “Mouth Cancer Awareness Month reached around 35 million people last year and remains the biggest and most effective campaign to raise the awareness of mouth cancer. But there is still more work to do.
“Latest figures show that incidence rates of mouth cancer in the UK have increased by nearly 30 per cent in the last decade, while four in five people still do not know any symptoms of the disease. The evidence demonstrates that we need to continue to raise public knowledge and understanding of the disease, promoting self-examination and early diagnosis. Knowing more about the risk factors and early warning signs is the key to early detection – that’s why Mouth Cancer Awareness Month is so important!”
Tobacco use and drinking alcohol are the main risk factors and account for around three in four cases of mouth cancers. People who both drink and use tobacco to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the condition.
Non-smokers who are exposed to second hand smoke at home or at work are two thirds more likely to develop the disease.
Aisling continued: “The five year survival rate of mouth cancer patients is just 50 per cent. But early diagnosis gives patients a 90 per cent survival. Regular visits to your dentist will ensure you are professionally screened for signs of mouth cancer. Talk to your dentists about the process and mouth cancer risk factors.
Self-examination is a simple, potentially life-saving process.
“Look out for ulcers which do not heal within three weeks; red and white patches in the mouth; unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth. If your mouth is a concern make an appointment with your dentist or GP immediately and make sure they know your worries.”