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  • Writer's pictureDr Donna Hill

Are you mouth cancer aware?

Mouth cancer is a very common yet also very treatable form of mouth cancer.

Could you be at risk? What can you do to lower the risk factors? How can you spot the early warning signs of mouth cancer? We answer all of this and more in our most recent blog post, but first, here are some oral cancer statistics.


The following are some statistics of oral cancer taken from Cancer Research UK (1).

  • 91% are preventable cases of oral cancer, UK

  • 2119 Deaths from oral cancer, 2012, UK

  • 6767 New cases of oral cancer, 2011, UK

About mouth cancer…

  1. Mouth cancer is a disease which can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat

  2. There are more than 6,700 new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in the UK each year

  3. Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, but it is more common in people over 40, particularly men

  4. Mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women

  5. The number of new cases of mouth cancer is on the increase

What causes mouth cancer?

  • Smoking causes around 75% of all mouth cancer cases

  • Drinking alcohol to excess can increase mouth cancer risks by four times

  • Those who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease

  • An unhealthy diet has also been linked to mouth cancer

  • Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips

  • The Human Papillomavirus, transmitted via oral sex, is increasingly being linked to mouth cancer in younger people

What you can look out for…

  • Mouth cancer can strike in a number of places, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek

  • Given early detection is so crucial with mouth cancer, it is important that everyone knows the signs and symptoms. These include: Ulcers which do not heal three weeks, Red and white patches in the mouth, Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth

  • If any of these are noticed, it is essential that you tell your dentist or doctor immediately

Early detection is vital

  • Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination

  • Please do talk about the examination with your dental professional – they will be more than happy to talk through exactly what they are doing, where they are looking, and what they are searching for

  • If mouth cancer is recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good

  • Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late

  • It is important to visit your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist regularly, as often as they recommend

How you can make sure that your mouth stays healthy?

  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

  • Look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, unusual lumps and swellings, or ulcers that have not cleared up within three weeks

  • When exposed to the sun, be sure to use protective sun cream

  • A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer

  • Cut down on your smoking and drinking

Are you mouthaware?


Young, old, smokers and non-smokers, more than 6,700 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer this year in the UK. Without early detection half will not survive


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, and unusual lumps or swellings


Know the risk factors and regularly visit your dentist to ensure you are checked for signs of mouth cancer

What action can you take now?

To help you self examine for mouth cancer at home we've written a free guide which is downloadable below.

Free guide available for immediate download…

“7 Point Self Examination Guide for Oral Cancer”

A special guide by Drs Donna & Rodney Hill

One of the most important things with mouth cancer is early detection, so in this guide we will talk about how you can examine yourself at home, the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them.

Our guide is exclusively available by e-mail so please enter your details below for immediate access.


Cancer Research UK,, Accessed October 2015.



After qualifying in 1992 in Birmingham, Donna moved to Cornwall then helped to set up Trinity Dental Centre in 2000, with the aim of providing kind and gentle dental care. Donna's interest is in the cosmetic field and she frequently updates her knowledge in this area. Outside of work she likes to read and to cook. She is married to Rodney and they have two sons. View all posts by Dr Donna Hill .


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