Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question posed by NHS Borders as they support a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

All Borders dentists are urging Borders residents to be more Mouthaware and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer, for November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month. With awareness of the disease remaining low NHS Borders say that a simple 45 second check is often all that’s needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.

Morag McQuade, Clinical Director of the Public Dental Service from NHS Borders says: “Early diagnosis improves our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 percent so it is crucial that we know what to look out for and that we do not hesitate in seeking advice from a health professional.”

“A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area, can all be signs of mouth cancer so it’s important to be aware of any changes  inside your mouth.”

“Quite often it is easier to notice lumps and bumps on the outside of the body or to dismiss a mouth ulcer as benign. Most of us will spend at least a few minutes every day in front of a mirror brushing our teeth so while we’re there it makes sense to have a quick look inside the mouth.”

“If you keep a lookout for these symptoms then a simple 45 second check really could save your life, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor.”

With around 7,000 Brits diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, the disease is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases rising by a third in the last decade alone.

CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE added: “Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums”.

“During every dental check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination for mouth cancer and look for anything that might be a cause for concern. That’s why it’s so important to keep regular dental check-ups – it’s not just about the health of our teeth and gums – a trip to the dentist could really be a life saver.”

To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org