‘If in doubt, get it checked out’

Awareness is being raised about mouth cancer. (s)
Awareness is being raised about mouth cancer. (s)

Health professionals are supporting and promoting mouth cancer action month this November to raise awarenss of the disease.

“If in doubt, get checked out” is the slogan for the awareness month this year and staff at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are encouraging residents to recognise the early signs and symptoms of the disease.

The team will be out and about in the area at health centres, hospitals, supermarkets and leisure centres giving

information and signposting people who are concerned about any unusual changes that may concern them.

The risks associated with mouth cancer include smoking, chewing or smokeless tobacco, alcohol and poor diet. Some key symptoms to look out for are:

l A sore or ulcer in your mouth or on your tongue that lasts longer than three weeks;

l A lump or swelling anywhere in your mouth or neck;

l A red or white patch in your mouth;

l An unexplained pain in your mouth or ear;

l A croaky voice or difficulty swallowing.

People are advised to talk to their dentist or doctor if they notice any changes that are unusual or don’t go away.

There are ways you can reduce your risk of mouth cancer which include quitting smoking and other tobacco related products and having a balanced and healthy diet. Support is available from the Fit Squad and Quit Squad at the Trust. To find out more about what these teams offer visit: www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk.

Kim Gregson, from the oral health promotion team, of Lancashire Care Dental Service, said: “The month provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of mouth cancer. Many people haven’t heard of mouth cancer or aren’t aware how common it is and low awareness can lead to people only seeking treatment when the cancer has reached a more difficult stage to treat. More than 2,000 people lose their lives to mouth cancer each year so our aim is to educate people to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms early for more effective treatment. If people are concerned they should visit their dentist or doctor in the first instance.”

The British Dental Health Foundation are leading the Blue Lip Selfie campaign that anyone can get involved in. Blue lipstick or plastic retro blue lips are available to buy on their website and they are encouraging anyone to take a selfie alone or with friends and family with the blue lipstick or plastic blue lips on and use the hash tag #bluelipselfie to help raise awareness whilst encouraging others to show their support for mouth cancer.

To join in and help raise awareness of mouth cancer, tweet your #BlueLipSelfie

For more information visit: www.mouthcancer.org or www.cancerresearch.co.uk.

People are advised to remember to visit their dentist regularly even if they no longer have their own teeth.

Dentists check for the early warning signs of mouth cancer as part of a routine examination and can refer patients to hospital for further tests.