People in their 20s are being urged to look out for the symptoms of mouth cancer. The disease is usually found in older people who have smoked and drunk alcohol over a long period of time. Now mouth cancer specialists are reporting cases of people in their 20s and 30s with non-healing ulcers, white and red patches or a lump, which are all possible signs and symptoms of the disease.
Mr Andrew Baldwin, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, believes that there is still a lack of awareness about mouth cancer in the general population.
“People who smoke and drink alcohol for a number of years tend to be those who suffer the most from mouth cancer. However, in the last few years we have seen a minority of people in their mid 20’s developing the disease.
There can also be other causes so people who don’t necessarily smoke and drink heavily but have the symptoms should not dismiss mouth cancer.”
Mr Robert Woodwards, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, insists early detection of the disease prevents people from being permanently disfigured.
“Whilst typically associated with smoking and drinking can be related to other causes and the key to a successful outcome for treatment for mouth cancer is to catch the disease when it is early and the lesion is small.
“Smaller mouth cancers are much easier to treat and the results of surgery can be limited so that alteration in a patient’s appearance is not necessarily the result of treatment.”
Emma Riley, oral health practitioner at Pennine Acute Trust, believes Mouth Cancer Action Week, starting on Monday 17 November, can save lives.
“Sadly, we’re seeing a rise in the number of cases of mouth cancer. It’s a familiar story really, unfortunately we’re smoking too much, drinking too much and don’t have the diet we should.”
“Many people simply don’t know the risks of mouth cancer, and we hope that the help Mr Baldwin, Mr Woodwards and their colleague Mr Ewen Thomson are offering during the awareness week will help with that.”