Boozy Britons face mouth cancer risk

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drining in britainBritain's increasing drinking culture could cause the number of mouth cancer cases to spiral to new levels, The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has said.

The oral health charity issued the warning after government statistics revealed the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK has almost doubled since 1991.

A total of 8,386 people died in 2005 from an alcohol-related illness, compared with just 4,144 in 1991, the Office for National Statistics said.

The figures also discovered alcohol death rates were much higher for men than for women.

According to the BDHF, one Briton is killed every five hours by mouth cancer, while people who drink alcohol to excess are four times more likely to develop the condition.

Furthermore, heavy drinkers who also smoke are about 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer, the BDHF added.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF, said: "Most people are aware that smoking increases your cancer risk but not everyone realises just how dangerous excessive alcohol consumption can be.

"People are drinking more and more these days and, with many so called 'social smokers' having a cigarette while they drink the likelihood is that the number of mouth cancer cases will continue to rise until people are forced to take notice."

The BDHF's warning came in advance of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week (November 12-18).

The campaign, which is being launched on November 13 by chief dental officer Barry Cockroft, aims to halt the continued rise in the number of people suffering with mouth cancer.

The campaign is using the tagline 'If in doubt, get checked out' to persuade people to check their mouths regularly for any changes.

Dr Carter added: "The first sign of mouth cancer can often be something seemingly harmless such as an ulcer that won’t heal, a lump or a red or white patch in the mouth.

"Early detection of the condition increases survival chances from just one in two to nine out of 10.

"While people with these symptoms should not panic - as often these things will have a perfectly harmless explanation - anyone noticing changes in their mouth should see their dentist or doctor immediately to put their mind at rest."

source -  999 Today

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