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Category “Oral cancer”

The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation urges patients to ask dentists to provide oral cancer checks

The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation is encouraging patients to ask their dentist to include oral cancer checks in routine appointments.

Oral cancer checks should be provided as part of a routine dental check-up, but the HNCF is urging patients to make sure that their dentists are carrying out the assessment as standard. Looking for signs of oral cancer takes less than a minute, and should be included in the price of a regular dental check.

Research conducted by the HNCF in conjunction with YouGov suggested that many patients are unsure whether or not their dentist included oral cancer screening in routine checks. In a survey of patients in Wales, only 50% of adults go to the dentist every 6 months, and more than half said that they weren’t sure if their dentist had carried out an oral cancer check at their last appointment. Patients should be aware of oral cancer checks, as a dentist may say that they’re looking for potential symptoms, and they will also use an instrument to pull the tongue to one side and then the other and to look at the gums and the lips for signs of abnormalities.

CEO of the foundation, Michelle Vickers, said that most of us are unaware of the role dentists play in the early detection of oral cancer, a form of cancer that has become more prevalent in the last decade. Dentists are trained to provide routine oral cancer checks as part of standard check-ups, and those who miss out on appointments could therefore be putting themselves at risk.

To make people more aware of oral cancer and encourage patients to ask their dentist for mouth cancer checks, the HNCF has launched a new campaign called Get Mouthy About Cancer. The idea is simple and involves patients asking their dentist for a routine cancer check. Many people are aware of the signs and symptoms of other types of cancer, but there’s a serious lack of knowledge and awareness linked to mouth cancer, which is resulting in the majority of cases being diagnosed at an advanced stage. Routine checks help to identify changes that could signal oral cancer, increasing the chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment.

75% of UK adults are unware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, despite a 135% increase in the number of cases

A new study has suggested that three-quarters of UK adults are unaware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, despite the fact that there has been a 135% increase in the number of cases in the last two decades.

Figures published by the Oral Health Foundation show that 75% of people do not know what the symptoms and warning signs of mouth cancer are, in spite of the fact that oral cancer kills more people in the UK than cervical and testicular cancer combined. Last year, more than 8,300 new cases were diagnosed. This represents a 135% increase since 1998. More than 80% of people surveyed were also unaware of the parts of the mouth that were affected by oral cancer.

The Oral Health Foundation has released new studies to coincide with the charity’s annual Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign. The foundation’s chief executive, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said that it is hugely important that people are aware of the symptoms so that they can seek advice as early as possible. Sadly, as awareness is so low, the majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when there’s a high risk that cancerous cells have already spread.

The campaign is hoping to make people more aware of mouth cancer and encourage them to look out for potential warning signs. The most common risk factors for mouth cancer include drinking and smoking, exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and a poor diet. Symptoms may include swelling and abnormal lumps, slow-healing mouth sores and ulcers, unexplained oral pain and bleeding, and red or white patches in the mouth.

As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, practices all over the country will be hosting free screening and encouraging patients who haven’t had a check-up in a while to get in touch.

Reports suggest HPV vaccine will be made available to boys and girls

Reports suggest that the government is set to roll out the HPV vaccine programme to include boys, as well as girls. According to the Daily Mail, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has backed calls from dental organisations to enable boys to benefit from the scheme. The HPV vaccination is currently given to teenage girls to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

Following a meeting to discuss the future of the programme, it is understood that the committee has advised health ministers to approve the expansion of the scheme, and health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is set to sign off on the guidelines in the near future. The move comes after leading dental bodies appealed for the committee to reconsider expanding the scheme after it concluded that offering immunisation to boys would not be cost-effective.

A group of dental organisations, including the British Dental Association, called for the committee to consider the widespread health benefits of protecting both boys and girls against forms of cancer that are linked to HPV (human papillomavirus). More than 20 different types of cancer are known to be associated with HPV, including oral cancer, which has become more prevalent in the UK in the last decade.

News of the initial reports has been welcomed by HPV Action, a charity, which has campaigned vigorously for the vaccination to be made available to boys. Peter Baker, director of the campaign, said that although the move is “long overdue,” it’s very welcome.

The move has also been backed by the British Dental Association. Chair, Mick Armstrong, said that the news may suggest that the government is “finally willing to walk the walk on prevention.”

Why dentists are fighting for HPV vaccines for boys

shutterstock_363779750Recently, a group of high-profile dental organisations called for the government to consider rolling out the HPV vaccination programme to include teenage boys, as well as girls. The vaccine, which is currently provided for girls as they enter their teenage years to protect against cervical cancer, is the subject of debate after a committee turned down the option to expand the reach of the programme on the grounds that it wasn’t cost-effective to vaccinate boys.

The British Dental Association has joined forces with the Faculty of General Dental Practice and the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons to urge the Department of Health and Social Care to reconsider plans to introduce vaccinations for boys. HPV is known to increase the risk of more than 20 forms of cancer, including oral cancer, a type of cancer that has become much more prevalent in the UK in the last decade.

Dr Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said that cancers that affect the mouth and throat have a devastating impact on quality of life, and added that dentists are frustrated by the fact that many cases of mouth cancer could be prevented. Dentists are often first to spot potential warning signs, and the BDA believes that introducing HPV vaccines for boys could see the number of cases fall in years to come. In the UK, the number of people diagnosed with oral cancer has increased by around a third in the last ten years. Dr Armstrong suggested that it was both unfair and illogical to protect half of the population and leave the other half exposed.

In light of the growing prevalence of mouth cancer, the organisations have urged the government to think about rolling out the vaccination programme to include boys and prioritise saving lives over saving money.

New study suggests that just 1 drink a day elevates gum disease and oral cancer risk

shutterstock_533737267A new study has suggested that drinking just one alcoholic drink per day could elevate your risk of developing gum disease, oral cancer and heart disease.

Research conducted by experts at New York University, revealed that people who had at least one drink a day had more harmful oral bacteria than non-drinkers. In addition, drinkers were found to lack healthy strains, which are capable of battling harmful bacteria.

Numerous studies have highlighted the dangers of excessive drinking in the past, but this new study provides an insight into the impact of drinking on the presence of both harmful and healthy bacteria in the mouth.

It is estimated that around 1 in 10 adults in the US are defined as ‘heavy drinkers.’ This term relates to the consumption of 1 or more drinks per day for women and 2 or more drinks for men.

During the trial, researchers analysed oral bacteria levels in 1,000 patients who were participating in national cancer trials. The team asked each person about their alcohol consumption, and the group was divided into three categories: heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.

Analysis of samples showed that drinkers had higher levels of harmful bacteria, including Neisseria species, Bacteroidales and Actinomyces and lower levels of Lactobacillales, healthy bacteria, which are commonly found in probiotic foods.

Study author, Jiyoung Ahn, an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, explained that the study shows that drinking alcohol has a negative impact on the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which could explain why people who drink frequently are more likely to develop conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer.

The team is now planning to develop the research and will be focusing on how alcohol affects the “biological mechanisms” within the mouth.

Could dating apps be fuelling rising rates of oral cancer?

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Dentists have issued a warning over the use of dating apps amid concerns over the increased prevalence of HPV, a virus known to increase the risk of several forms of cancer, including oral cancer.

The British Dental Association, along with a number of other health bodies, has already backed a move to expand the HPV vaccine programme to include teenage boys, as well as girls, but this was rejected by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of the population will be affected by HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases, HPV doesn’t cause any problems, but certain strains are linked to an elevated risk of some forms of cancer. Cervical cancer is one of these, and this is why the HPV vaccination programme was introduced in British schools. Girls aged 12 and 13 are entitled to the vaccination, but the immunisation is not currently available for boys.

Dentists are worried that the ruling on HPV vaccination for boys is based on data that is no longer accurate, as behaviour has changed and factors, including the rise of dating apps like Tinder, have not been considered by those in charge of making decisions. The British Dental Association believes that information used to make decisions is outdated and there are also accusations that data has been withheld during the consultation process.

Dr Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said that it is “shocking” that the vaccine will not be made available to thousands of boys who are at risk of developing certain forms of cancer, including oral cancer, as a result of HPV infection.

The relationship between oral cancer and HPV has been a subject of intrigue, especially since Hollywood actor, Michael Douglas, attributed his own experiences with throat cancer to oral sex.

Dentists back calls for HPV vaccination programme expansion

shutterstock_370574216Research conducted by HPV Action has revealed that the overwhelming majority of dentists support calls for the HPV vaccine to be made available to teenage boys, as well as girls.

According to the charity, 97 percent of dentists polled backed plans to expand the vaccination programme to include 12 and 13-year-old boys. At the moment, HPV vaccines are available to teenage girls. This is due to the link between certain strains of HPV and cervical cancer. There is now a growing body of evidence to suggest an association between the virus and oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly common in the last decade.

Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice, Mick Horton, said that the number of cases of oral cancer diagnosed is the UK has risen “dramatically” in the last ten years, and two-thirds of cases involve men. Introducing the HPV vaccine could help to reduce the risk of oral cancer in young males. There are also plans to launch a pilot scheme for gay men.

The vaccination programme has contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of HPV in young women, and experts are keen to trial the vaccine to determine if it could reduce the number of cases of HPV-related cancers in young males. Currently, figures suggest that over 2,000 men are diagnosed with cancers related to HPV every year and almost 50 percent of patients will die from the disease within five years.

Dentists support calls made by doctors and campaigners to expand the programme and believe that providing the vaccine for boys could help to save numerous lives in the future

Teachers call for HPV vaccination to be made available for boys

shutterstock_208190617Teachers have called for HPV vaccinations to be made available for teenage boys, as well as girls.

Speaking at the annual conference for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Scotland, several professionals backed calls to introduce vaccination for boys, in light of research connecting HPV to forms of cancer found in males, as well as females. HPV vaccines are currently given to teenage girls to protect them against cervical cancer; however, research also claims that certain strains of HPV increase the risk of head and neck cancer, throat cancer and cancers found in males, such as penile cancer.

Sree Varshini Rajkumar, from Berkshire, urged the government to roll out the vaccination programme, stating that more than 1,400 cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed as a result of HPV in men every year. It is estimated that the number of cases of throat cancer diagnosed in men will exceed the number of cases of cervical cancer linked to HPV diagnosed in women over the course of the next five years. Fifty-thousand men are diagnosed with HPV each year, and many cases of cancers associated with certain strains of the virus could be eliminated if the vaccination programme was extended.

HPV has been identified as a potential risk factor for oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly prevalent over the last decade. In the past, most cases were found in people who smoked and drank excessively; however, there has been a rise in cases among younger people and non-smokers, and HPV infection is a likely cause.

Are you aware of the warning signs of oral cancer?

shutterstock_450907531It’s a form of cancer that affects more than 6,000 people in the UK every year, but relatively few people have heard of oral cancer. The latest statistics show that the incidence of oral cancer has increased by more than 60 percent in the last two decades, but do you know the symptoms and warning signs you should be looking out for?

According to Cancer Research UK, the number of cases of mouth cancer has risen by 68 percent in the last twenty years. In that time, survival rates have barely improved. In contrast, survival rates for other types of cancer, such as breast and testicular cancer, have increased significantly. The worry is that people are unaware of the signs and symptoms. You see campaigns about breast and cervical cancer all the time, and people know to look out for changes such as lumps and abnormal bleeding. With oral cancer, there’s very little publicity, and people don’t know the red flag signs they should be looking out for.

Dentists across the country are keen to promote regular routine check-ups in a bid to ensure that more cases of oral cancer are diagnosed at an early stage. When symptoms are detected early, the chance of survival can increase from less than 50 percent to over 90 percent. Dentists are also eager to ensure that more people are aware of the signs and symptoms, which include unexplained oral pain, slow-healing mouth ulcers, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and red or white patches in the mouth.

The British Dental Association is also calling for HPV vaccination to be made available to males as well as females. At present, the vaccination is given to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer, which is associated with certain strains of the human papilloma virus. Research has suggested that HPV can also play a role in increasing the risk of oral and oesophageal cancers, and therefore the BDA believes that it would be beneficial to offer the vaccine to both sexes.

Public Health Wales issues warning over rising mouth cancer rates

Figures released by Public Health Wales show that mouth cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent.

The latest statistics show an increase in the number of recorded cases; however, there has been an improvement in one-year survival rates. There has been little change in five-year survival figures.

The report also revealed that more cases are being diagnosed, but most are at an advanced stage, which explains why five-year survival rates have stalled. Like most forms of cancer, the later mouth cancer is diagnosed, the lower the chances of successful treatment.

Director of the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Dyfed Wyn Huws, describe the situation as “worrying”, especially as smoking rates are falling in Wales. Smoking is a major risk factor for mouth cancer, but obviously, there are other factors that people need to be wary of, such as alcohol consumption and exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection.

Consultant in dental public health, Anup Karki, said that it was imperative to try and improve early diagnosis rates to boost survival statistics. Early diagnosis means early treatment, and this means doctors can hopefully target cancers before they spread.

Warning signs to look out for include swelling and abnormal lumps in the mouth or throat, red or white patches in the mouth, loose teeth without history of gum disease, and ulcers that take a long time (more than 2 weeks) to heal. If you notice any of these signs, see your GP or your dentist. It’s also essential to attend routine check-ups. Dentists are trained to spot the early signs of mouth cancer, and they perform routine checks every time you have an appointment.

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