What is mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer is cancer that affects the lips, cheek, tongue and throat.
Who can be affected by mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer can affect anyone, it is most common in people over 40, particularly men.
However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and women.
Do people die of mouth cancer?
Yes, on average over 1800 people die of mouth cancer in the UK each year. That’s about 6 people each day! Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught at an early stage.
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.
Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is really important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.
What causes mouth cancer?
Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to alcohol and tobacco consumption. Regular smoking and drinking greatly increases your risk of getting mouth cancer. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips.
Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body.
HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer.