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Mouth Cancer Awareness Month

During November the NHS Oral Health Improvement Team will be raising awareness of Mouth Cancer and the importance of knowing how to spot it early by regularly checking for unusual signs in your mouth.

The Team have many events planned across North Ayrshire and look forward to welcoming you along and taking part in their competition to win great prizes. Along with a range of venues across North Ayrshire, visits will be held at Saltcoats Townhall (2nd Nov), Cunninghame House (8 Nov) and Bridgegate House (16 Nov). See below for information on other venues.

What is Mouth Cancer?

Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can appear in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

Who can be affected by Mouth Cancer?

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women.

There are, on average, almost 7,800 new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. The number of new cases of mouth cancer is on the increase, and in the UK has increased by over half in the last decade alone.

What are the causes of Mouth Cancer?

Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking are the main forms of tobacco use in many parts of the world.  Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are taken together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips and many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

What are the signs of Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips. Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. Be aware of any unusual lumps in your mouth or jaw area and any persistent hoarseness. It is important to visit your dental team or doctor if these areas do not heal within three weeks. If you aren’t sure, go for a check-up anyway.

Early detection saves lives!

Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dental team during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is diagnosed early, then the chances of a cure are good.

Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late. Be aware of what is going on in your mouth. Examine yourself regularly. Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, any unusual red or white patches, lumps in your neck or jaw area, or persistent hoarseness are all reasons for asking your dental team or doctor to examine you. There is probably nothing seriously wrong but an early diagnosis could save your life!

How can I make sure my mouth stays healthy?

Stop smoking and cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink. Eat a balanced, healthy diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – this can also help protect against many other cancers. Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.

For further information and support contact
Venues of oral health team visits across North Ayrshire

The table below gives details of all the health team visits happening across North Ayrshire throughout November. There will also be a drop in at Café Solace in Irvine on Tues 8 November from 5pm to 7pm and a display and resources at the Community Larder at Argyll Centre in Saltcoats on Wed 9.11 – 12pm to 1.30pm.

1/11/22 Arran Ferry Terminal 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
1/11/22 Montrose Care Home 1:00 – 2:30 pm
2/11/22 Saltcoats Townhall 12:00 – 1:30 pm
3/11/22 Vikingar, Largs 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
8/11/22 Cunninghame House, Irvine 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
10/11/22 Portal, Irvine 9:30 am – 12:00pm
14/11/22 Sainsbury, Irvine 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
15/11/22 Auchenharvie, Stevenston 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
16/11/22 Bridgegate House, Irvine 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
17/11/22 Stevenston Library 2:30 – 4:30 pm


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