MCAW GENERAL: Bad habits could cost you your life

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Mouth cancer kills one person every five hours in the UK.

Even worse, with a 17 percent increase in the number of new cases over the last four years, mouth cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK.

Many of these cases could be avoided if people were to live healthier lifestyles.

Smoking is the most common cause of mouth cancer, and people who smoke and drink alcohol to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the condition. A poor diet can also contribute to developing mouth cancer.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Week, which runs from November 7 to 13, aims to provide information to the public on how to reduce the chances of them developing mouth cancer, while also advising them on the main risk factors.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, who co-ordinate the week, commented: "Mouth cancer is killing more and more people every year, and the only way we can reverse the trend is by adopting healthier lifestyles."

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Ask yourself how you could improve your own lifestyle. For example, if you are a regular at the pub, try sticking to soft drinks on every other visit, and avoid fatty bar snacks. Reducing your alcohol intake and improving your diet will not only help guard against mouth cancer, it will also leave you feeling healthier.

"Most importantly, you should give up smoking. Mouth cancer is a deadly disease and smoking is by far the most common cause of the condition. I urge you to consider this before you buy your next packet of cigarettes. After all, this is one habit that could prove fatal."

Early detection is the key to surviving mouth cancer, and a person's survival chances increase from 50 to 90 percent if the condition is treated early enough.

Even people who do not drink or smoke can develop mouth cancer, so it is important that everyone knows what symptoms to look out for.

Dr Carter continued: "The first sign of mouth cancer is often an ulcer that doesn't heal or a red or white patch in the mouth. Many people choose to ignore these symptoms but anyone who has had an ulcer for more than three weeks should get it checked by their dentist or doctor. You never know, it could save your life."

Members of the public can show their support for increasing mouth cancer awareness by purchasing the Campaign Blue Ribbon. The standard ribbon is available for only

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