20th Nov 2022

Monthly self-check could beat cancer

Latest figures highlighting a record rise in new cases of mouth cancer make for alarming reading.

The figures, collected by the Oral Health Foundation, show that 8,864 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease last year – a 34% increase compared with ten years ago and more than double within the last generation.

The findings were released to coincide with November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month. 

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of Oral Health Foundation, says: “While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate.”

“Traditional causes like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are quickly being caught by emerging risk factors like the human papillomavirus (HPV).  The stigma around mouth cancer has changed dramatically. It’s now a cancer that really can affect anybody.”

“We have seen first-hand the devastating affect mouth cancer can have on a person’s life.  It changes how somebody speaks, it makes eating and drinking more difficult, and often changes a person’s physical appearance.”


The foundation is urging everyone to become more “mouthaware” by watching out for early signs and raising any concerns with their doctor or dentist if they notice anything unusual.

Mouth cancer can appear as a mouth ulcer which does not heal, red or white patches in the mouth, or unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck.

One-in-three mouth cancers (33%) are found on the tongue and almost one-in-four (23%) are discovered on the tonsil.

The other places to check for mouth cancer include the lips, gums, inside of the cheeks, as well as the floor and roof of the mouth.

Vital importance of early detection

I could not agree more with the Oral Health Foundation. The best way to beat cancer is early detection and it is better to get something checked out than to leave it until it is too late.

A monthly self-check could be a life-saver because the chances of overcoming cancer are far higher if the disease is caught early.

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