London: The UK’s leading mouth cancer campaigners have urged the population to wake up to a pot of coffee and boost chances of keeping clear of cancer.
The British Dental Health Foundation has welcomed news of coffee’s potential after Japanese scientists found a cup of coffee a day made drinkers half as likely to develop oral cancer.
Drinking habits could prove a real boost in the fight to curb deaths from mouth cancer – which kills one person every five hours in the UK.
Cutting down on alcohol is another positive lifestyle choice. Alcohol and tobacco are linked to 80 per cent of cases, while people both drinking and smoking are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter said: “Though quitting smoking and alcohol are the two most positive lifestyle resolutions this New Year, research has shown a coffee a day could help against mouth cancer.
“Our Mouth Cancer Action Week campaign each year also points out the need to visit the dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings, and if in doubt, get checked out.”
Around 5,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer reach year in the UK.
Regular dental visits are vital as symptoms often occur pain free, so expert check-ups are necessary.
Self-examination for warning signs – including non-healing ulcers, red and white patches in the mouth or unusual lumps or changes in the mouth – is also an effective way of staying safe.
The recent coffee research was carried out by a team at Japan’s Tohoku University School of Medicine, and tracked 40,000 people aged 40-64 over a 13 year period.
Studies showed people drinking at least a coffee a day were 49 per cent less likely to develop cancers of the mouth or oesophagus. In their report, published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists noted an inverse association between drinking coffee and those at most risk of mouth cancer.
For nore information visit the website www.mouthcancer.org
Facts and Figures
* In the UK over 4,750 are diagnosed each year
* Around 1,700 people die of mouth cancer every year
* Mouth cancer is more common in men than women, but the gap is closing
* Mouth cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition
* Tobacco and alcohol are thought to contribute to 80 per cent of mouth cancer cases
* Smoking is the number one cause for mouth cancer. Cigarette smoke converts saliva into a deadly cell-damaging cocktail
* Switching to low-tar cigarettes will not help, as smokers of ‘lights’ tend to inhale more smoke than smokers of ‘regular’ cigarettes
*Although some people believe that chewing tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is even more dangerous. Chewing tobacco, paan, areca nut and gutkha are habits favoured by some ethnic groups
* Alcohol aids absorption of smoke into the mouth – people who smoke and drink alcohol to excess are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer
* Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases. Evidence shows an increase in fruit and vegetables lowers the risk, as can fish and eggs
* It is recommended that people enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, including food from each of the major food groups and including fruit and vegetables of all different colours as each colour contains different vitamins
* Research now suggests the human papilloma virus (HPV) – transmitted by oral sex – could soon rival smoking and drinking as a main cause of mouth cancer.
* Early detection and treatment considerably increases survival chances, allows for simpler treatment and results in a better quality of life for sufferers
About The Charity
The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 30-year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers.
National Smile Month runs each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health, with Mouth Cancer Action Week each November.
The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial dental advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or by e- mailing firstname.lastname@example.org