Mouth Cancer Action Month 2019September 18, 2019
Saving life by taking action
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the world.
It’s likely that most, if not all of us will be impacted in some way by the condition, whether we are diagnosed with it or a loved one is. Either way, coping with cancer is one of the toughest challenges that we will ever face.
The threat is growing, at least as far as mouth cancer is concerned. Diagnoses have grown by more than 40% in the last decade alone. It is also one of the few cancers which is predicted to continue to rise in the coming years. We need your help to change that.
This November, we want to work with you to help provide the very best information to everyone who could be affected by mouth cancer.
We know that the vast majority of Brits simply do not know enough about the disease. This must change, and we want to work with you to make that happen.
We want more people to know how they can detect mouth cancer early. This means being vigilant and regularly checking their mouth for signs of cancer. It is also about acting quickly if they spot anything unusual in or around their mouth and seeking the help of a dentist or doctor.
It is also important that more people know what causes mouth cancer and adopt a healthier lifestyle to reduce their risk.
Ultimately, it’s all about being mouthaware.
Throughout November, we want to see as many events, activities and fundraisers as possible across the UK. Spreading vital information about the disease could literally save lives.
Over the years we have seen some fantastic support for the campaign, and we hope that we can all once again come together and make a positive difference to the landscape of mouth cancer.
Please help us promote the benefits of good oral health and spread the word that when mouth cancer is picked up earlier, treatment is more likely to be successful.
Make it clear to everybody you know that cutting down on habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol could make a huge difference and help reduce our risk of mouth cancer.
Help us make sure that the nation is aware that a quick trip to the dentist could really save their life. You will agree with us that mouth cancer needs more recognition and something needs to change. Let’s make a stand and speak out against mouth cancer this November.
Be mouth aware
The aim of Mouth Cancer Action Month is to create a more mouthaware nation.
You can play a big part in helping us achieve our goal by sharing a very clear and simple phrase –
‘IF IN DOUBT, GET CHECKED OUT.’
We want everybody to pay close attention to what’s going on inside their mouth and take urgent action if they spot any unusual or unexplained changes.
Mouth cancer can strike in a number of places, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek. Given that early detection is so crucial for survival, it’s essential that you tell staff, patients and those within your local community, what the main warning signs to look out for are.
Three signs and symptoms not to ignore are:
- Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks.
- Red and white patches in the mouth.
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.
During November’s campaign, we will be encouraging everybody to get into the habit of checking their mouth for signs of cancer. If any of these common symptoms are spotted, a dentist or doctor should be seen immediately.
Whether you are a dentist, hygienist or therapist, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, oral health educator, or responsible for occupational health in the workplace, please make sure you tell everyone about these symptoms. If nothing else, tell everybody “if in doubt, get checked out.”
The ultimate success of the campaign depends on your support. Use your voice to help us remind people how important it is to pay attention to the changes in and around your mouth.
Reducing our risk
Mouth cancer does not discriminate. It really can affect anybody.
However, it is strongly associated with the age and gender of a person. Mouth cancer is more likely to be found in men over 40. Lifestyle is also important, with around nine in every ten cases linked to risk factors like tobacco and alcohol.
This shows just how much of an influence our daily choices and habits can have on our overall health. But by amending them, making small steps towards healthier day-to-day choices, we can help cut the chances of developing mouth cancer.
The five key risk factors that we want to encourage people to address are:
- Tobacco – This is the leading cause of mouth cancer. Tobacco transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.
- Alcohol – Excessive drinking of alcohol is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth in women. Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.
- HPV (the Human papillomavirus) – The world’s most common sexually-transmitted virus is being linked to the growth of mouth cancer cases and is expected to become the leading cause of the disease in the near future. It’s the world’s most viral secret and during November, we want to put it under the spotlight.
- Diet – Research shows that a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.
- Chewing or smokeless tobacco – Smokeless and chewing tobacco like betel quid, is not a ‘safe’ alternative to traditional cigarettes and is very common across Asia, Europe and the USA.
Blue Ribbon Appeal
We are eager to give you as many ways of showing your support for Mouth Cancer Action Month as possible.
Wearing a Blue Ribbon badge is a small gesture, but it really could make the world of difference.
There are now more than 250,000 of you wonderful supporters who are wearing the enamel Blue Ribbon with pride. Pinning it on your clothing can prompt conversations about mouth cancer and encourage more people to pay closer attention to what’s going on inside their mouths –
something that one day could save their life.
Even more than that, the badge acts as a symbol of solidarity.
It is a sign that we stand together united against mouth cancer. We stand together in support of the countless people who have been affected in some way by this terrible disease. We stand together to drive change and help share life-saving information about the disease. We want you to join us. Buy one for yourself, get your family, friends and colleagues to pitch in too.
Each Blue Ribbon badge costs just £1 and that money goes a long way in helping us to achieve our charitable goals.
Alongside the Blue Ribbon Appeal, we are asking you to help support this year’s campaign by taking part in Blue Wednesday on November 13th.
Whether it’s as simple as an item of clothing, or something as bold as blue lipstick, your involvement can help spread the message and ultimately save lives.
Over recent years we have seen some fantastic support on Blue Wednesday from funky outfits to brilliant decorations. Your support on the day plays a huge part in promoting the importance of being mouthaware, something we can all get behind.
The day can also prove to be a really fun team-building event and you can shout about all the wonderful blue-themed things you’ve been up to on social media.
So, when Blue Wednesday rolls around, wear something blue, put on a Blue Ribbon badge, hang up blue bunting all over your practice and encourage others to do the same!
If you do post any pictures on social media on the day, don’t forget to use #BlueWednesday!
This is just part of why we need you to show your support for Mouth Cancer Action Month 2019 on November 1st.
State of Mouth Cancer UK
Last year, we published the first comprehensive review into mouth cancer.
For 2019’s campaign, we will again delve into the very latest statistics for the disease.
The report will include new figures on diagnosis across the UK, survival rates and how the landscape has changed over time.
We will also discuss the nation’s awareness of mouth cancer. Specifically, how much is known about the risk factors and common symptoms of the disease.
The report, which will be published on November 1st 2019, will also explore some key recommendations from the Oral Health Foundation for the future. How we can tackle the rising rates of the disease, raising awareness of the key risk factors associated with the disease and how related topical issues like the new gender-neutral HPV vaccination programme can play a vital part in changing the landscape of mouth cancer in the years to come.
Your support over the past few years has been instrumental to the success of Mouth Cancer Action Month and how far and wide we can spread vital messages about mouth cancer.
Prevention and early detection of mouth cancer are two ideals that we strive towards and your donations help us get a step closer.
Our Mouth Cancer Appeal is here to help reduce these numbers by making more people aware of the causes, signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.
All proceeds from our Mouth Cancer Action Appeal will go towards putting oral health information in the places that they are needed. Local pharmacies and doctor’s practices up and down the country, where those who are most at risk are most likely to see it and be influenced by it.
Help us make a change today. Head to www.mouthcancer.org for more information and to donate to this great cause. Together we can save lives.