The Oral Health Foundation is asking people to conduct a quick 45-second check for mouth cancer.
The number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK has risen by 97% in 20 years, while awareness around the disease remains worryingly low.
New research by the charity shows more than four in five (83%) do not know what to look for when checking for signs of mouth cancer, while just under two-thirds (62%) say they have never checked themselves for the disease.
Mouth cancer checks are quick and simple, and should be part of your daily bathroom routine. The five basic steps are as follows:
- check your head and neck for any unusual lumps or bumps;
- move to the inside of your mouth and check your tongue for any unusual red or white patch, lump or ulcer that has lasted for longer than three weeks – make sure to check both sides and underneath.
- run your finger along the inside of both your cheeks to check for any lumps or bumps and check if you can see any red or white patches;
- look at the roof of your mouth – it can be tricky to get the right angle so you will need to tilt your head back slightly – also, run your finger along the roof of your mouth to check for any lumps or swelling; and,
- finally, check your lips – simply use your thumb and index fingers to pull down your lip and check for any red or white patches or lumps. Do this for both your top and bottom lip.