But do you know how much your lifestyle is raising your risk of the disease? A new test has been devised to answer that question. Nine in ten mouth cancers are caused by preventable lifestyle factors, experts warn.
Yet the majority of Britons do not consider themselves to be at risk of mouth cancer, despite many admitting to smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, new research has shown.
Oral Health Foundation found that more than three in four (78 per cent) of adults were unaware of the effects.
Scroll down to take the test
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the charity said: ‘More than nine in ten mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle factors and the only way to curb this risk is by quitting or reducing habits such as smoking and alcohol.
‘Mouth cancer is still a relatively unknown disease, with many still unaware that you are able to develop cancer on the tongue, cheeks, lips, head and neck.
‘It is important to be aware that cancer could develop in this area of the body, especially if you regularly exposure yourself to lifestyle choices which have been linked with the disease.’
WHAT IS YOUR RISK OF MOUTH CANCER?
Scorecard: A = 10 points | B = 7 points | C = 3 points | D = 1 points
1. What is your smoking status?
a. Heavy smoker b. Moderate c. Ex-smoker d. Never smoker
2. How much alcohol do you drink in a week?
a. 14+ units b. 6-13 units c. 1-5 units d. Do not drink
3. How often do you have oral sex?
a. Daily b. Weekly c. Monthly d. Annually or less 4.
How many portions of fish, fruit and vegetable do you have a day?
a. 0 b. 1-4 c. 5-9 d. 10+ 5.
Do you use smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco (paan, gutkha, betel nut)? a. Yes, often b. Yes, occasionally c. Ex-user d. Never user
Your mouth cancer risk is….
0-5 – Low
You seem to live a healthy lifestyle and are at low risk of developing mouth cancer. Risk is not totally diminished though so it is advised that you maintain regular visits to the dentist, as often as they recommend.
6-20 – Moderate
Your risk of mouth cancer is relatively low but you could improve elements of your lifestyle to reduce your risk further. Try to reduce some habits, visit the dentist regularly and be alert to any unusual changes in the mouth.
21-30 – Considerable
You could be at risk of mouth cancer due to frequently exposing yourself to a number of lifestyle choices associated with the disease. Cut down on these and try to improve your diet. Visit the dentist regularly and be more active in performing self-checks at home.
31-50 – High
You could be at extreme risk of developing mouth cancer. It is important that you try to improve your health by adopting a healthier lifestyle. You might need more regular dental appointments due to your current choices and it is highly advised you begin a routine of self-examining your mouth at home for anything out of the ordinary.