Why unhealthy lifestyles are being blamed for huge rise in mouth cancer

Having unhealthy lifestyles is the reason for a huge rise over the last two decades in the number of cases of mouth cancer, according to new research.

Cases have gone up by a staggering 68 per cent, according to scientists working at Cancer Research UK. And, the charity says that nine tenths of those cases could have been preventable because they are linked to smoking and consumption of alcohol, along with other unhealthy lifestyle habits. While there were only eight cases of mouth cancer per 100,000 people, in the mid nineties, that figure had gone up to 13 per 100,000 between 2012-2014, which is the most recent data available.

People who smoke were said to be putting themselves at greatest risk, while other habits which increased the likelihood of getting mouth cancer, also included a diet low in fruit and vegetables, drinking alcohol, and having been infected with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Mouth cancer can include cancer of the lips, tongue, gums, palate, tonsils and the middle section of the throat. It can be fatal or have very debiliating consequences for sufferers.

Jessica Kirby, Cancer Research UK’s senior health information manager, said: “It’s worrying that oral cancer has become more common. It’s important to get to know your body and what’s normal for you, to help spot the disease as early as possible.

“An ulcer or sore in your mouth or tongue that won’t go away, a lump on your lip or in your mouth, a red or red and white patch in your mouth or an unexplained lump in your neck are all things to look out for. Speak to your GP or dentist about any changes that are unusual or don’t go away.

“Healthy lifestyles can help reduce the risk of developing the disease in the first place. Not smoking, drinking less alcohol and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can all help to cut our risk of mouth cancer.