A quarter of Brits describe cancer as beatable, according to new research1.
A study by the British Dental Health Foundation has found that one of the most common words associated with cancer is ‘beatable’, in what the charity and long-time mouth cancer campaigners, is hailing as a triumph against the life threatening disease.
Cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled in the last 40 years, according to Cancer Research UK, and with it public perception of cancer has become far more positive, believes the charity.
But during November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month they are warning that there is still huge variation between cancer types, with mouth cancer survival rates not improving in the last decade.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, explained why we must all stay alert when it comes to cancer.
Dr Carter said: “Every single one of us has a different way of thinking about cancer and it is great to see that so many of us have a positive perception about the fight against it.
“We have seen so many wonderful developments within cancer treatment in recent years but unfortunately, when it comes to mouth cancer, progress has been particularly slow.
“Mouth cancer survival rates have not improved in the last 20 years and we put this is down to a lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms, this may result in diagnosis being made too late and the cancer spreading, this makes treatment more extensive and less successful.”
During Mouth Cancer Action Month the charity, along with campaign sponsors Denplan, aim to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by increasing education of the risk factors and signs and symptoms while encouraging everybody to discuss them with their dental professional.
The charity is reminding us to be alert to unusual lumps or swellings in the head and neck area, white or red patches in the mouth, and mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks.
If we notice any of these symptoms then we should visit their dentist or doctor straight away. In all probability there is nothing to worry about but by being Mouthaware and following the maxim ‘If in doubt get checked out!’ You could save your life.
“Evidently, a lot of us see cancer as not something to be completely feared anymore,” added Dr Carter.
“We want to make this the same when it comes to mouth cancer in particular; key to beating it is early detection as it dramatically improves the chances of survival from 50 to 90 per cent.
“There are fantastic support networks, information and improved treatments which all play a role in a greater survival rates but this all depends on an early diagnosis.
“Although a lot has already been done and more people are surviving cancer in general, we need to do more to help protect people from mouth cancer.”
Throughout Mouth Cancer Action Month we are being urged to be aware of any changes in the mouth – ‘if in doubt, get checked out’ by a dentist or doctor.
1. Research conducted on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation by Atomik Research, September 2015. Sample size: 2,024