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Raising Awareness of mouth cancer

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month – a charity campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation to increase awareness and education around mouth cancer. As part of our commitment to healthy mouths, Zendium is proud to support the 2020 Mouth Cancer Action Month. We believe that the mouth is the gateway to the body, therefore early diagnosis of mouth conditions – including mouth cancer – is critical to keep the mouth and body healthy.

Why is mouth cancer an important topic?

Every year, around 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer and globally there are over 300,000 cases every year. In fact, mouth cancer claims more lives that cervical and testicular cancer combined. However, many people often aren’t aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer and may ignore the early warning signs. It’s important to act early though as timely diagnosis greatly improves outcomes.

How to spot mouth cancer

Mouth cancer can develop in any part of the mouth. So be sure to check your cheeks, gums, lips, tongue and tonsils. Also check the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as your head and neck.

  • The most common symptom is mouth ulcers or sores that don’t heal within three weeks
  • Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue can be early signs of mouth cancer
  • Unusual and persistent lumps or swellings in the mouth, head and neck should also be checked

If you have any of the above symptoms, act now and visit your GP or dentist to get them checked. 

What causes mouth cancer?

The exact causes mouth cancer aren’t known, but there are several factors that can increase your risk of getting mouth cancer. These include:

Smoking – This increases your risk of developing mouth cancer 10X more than non-smokers.

Alcohol – Excessive alcohol is linked to just under 30% of all mouth cancers.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) – A major cause of cervical cancer, HPV also increases the risk of mouth cancer if spread orally.

Chewing and smokeless tobacco – Includes any tobacco product that is placed in the mouth or nose and not burned. 

Diet – An unhealthy diet lacking key vitamins and minerals contributes to about one third of mouth cancers.

Other factors can also increase your risk, including too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural sunlight or sunbeds, certain previous cancers (such as oesophagus cancer or cervical cancer) or a family history of mouth cancer.

If these risk factors apply to you, it does not mean you are certain to develop mouth cancer, but it’s important to reduce your risk where possible with even a few small lifestyle changes.

Treating mouth cancer

The three main treatment options for mouth cancer include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy

After treatment, patients may have to deal with problems such as difficulty breathing, swallowing, drinking and eating, and facial disfigurement can occur. Radiotherapy can also cause a dry mouth, which can last for months or could be permanent.

It’s important keep your mouth clean and healthy even following the complications of mouth cancer to stop any infections from occurring.

Caring for your vulnerable mouth

Zendium is committed to promoting effective management of oral health before, during and after cancer treatment to help patients cope with side effects and support them in their journey to wellness.

Zendium’s milder oral care gives protection through kindness that can be helpful at this time.

  • Zendium has a gentle formula with 0% sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and has mild flavours, making  it kinder to the delicate tissues of the mouth.
  • Zendium contains a combination of natural enzymes and proteins that strengthen the mouth’s natural defences by boosting the mouth’s good bacteria and reducing the bad bacteria. This helps to keep the mouth’s natural microbiome in balance and the mouth healthy.
  • Zendium contains the recommended level of fluoride (1450ppm F) for effective cavity protection.

More information

For more information about how to support Mouth Cancer Action Month visit their website.

More information about mouth cancer can also be found on the NHS website