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Mouth cancer campaign warning

Mouth cancer is a major health problem in Scotland, a new campaign has warned.

The country has the highest incidence of the disease anywhere in the UK.

Now Dundee University is alerting more people to the early warning signs to coincide with Mouth Cancer Awareness Week.

Smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, poor diet and oral hygiene can all put people at risk. The British Dental Health Foundation estimates over the next decade around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed and, without early detection, 30,000 will die.

In Scotland there are 11.9 cases of the disease per 100,000 people, compared with 8.1 cases per 100,000 in England.

Dr Simon Shepherd, clinical lecturer at the university's dental school, said: "People can reduce the risk by limiting alcohol, adopting a healthier diet and not smoking.

"Mouth cancer can affect people of all ages. Historically, oral cancer mainly affected older age groups but now one in 10 cases is found in the under-45 age group."

Symptoms can include ulcers that do not heal within two weeks, red or white in the mouth, unusual lumps or swellings and numbness of the tongue or other parts of the mouth.

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