LONDON, November 3 /PRNewswire/ --

- With Photo

November 16 sees the launch of a new health campaign organised by the British Dental Health Foundation called Mouth Cancer Action Week. Mouth cancer (also called oral cancer) is a malignant growth which can occur in any part of the mouth including the lips and tongue. Mouth cancers often appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally or, less often, as a red or white patch in the mouth. The campaign seeks to encourage people to understand their level of risk for the disease and to advise dentists to be vigilant in their examination procedures.

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Smoking, or chewing tobacco (or betel quid/paan/gutkha), greatly increases your chances of getting mouth cancer. Heavy drinking is also a risk. If you do both, your chances of getting mouth cancer are much greater. This cancer is more common in men than women and more likely to occur in people aged over 40 years. Experts today, however, are concerned about rising numbers of this cancer in younger age groups.

In the UK about 5,000 people get cancer of the mouth each year and the disease kills one person every five hours. Treated in its early stages, mouth cancer is curable but it if not detected early, it kills around one in two sufferers. A dentist is trained and in the best position to examine for early signs of this disease.

The routine dental examination procedure is quick, simple, completely painless and requires no injection. The dentist carefully examines the inside of the mouth with the help of a small mirror. Remember, the dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.

Many UK dental practices now offer a mouth cancer screening service which aims to increase your awareness of your own level of risk for the disease and to help you reduce that risk by changing your lifestyle habits.

In addition to this awareness counselling and regular comprehensive head, neck and mouth examination procedures, dental practices can now offer patients an extended test using a new mouth cancer screening system which highlights any abnormal area of the mouth, identifying areas of potential risk even before they become visible. The latest system is called ViziLite Plus which is used extensively in the USA as an aid to early detection and has recently been introduced to the UK.

If you drink heavily, smoke or use tobacco in any form, you may be at risk. You are advised to contact your dentist, doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns. If in doubt - get checked out.

For more information visit

ViziLite Plus is a registered trademark of Zila Inc, USA

Note to Editor

A picture accompanying this release is available through the PA Photowire. It can be downloaded from or viewed at or

For further press information contact Richard Horner, Scope Dental Professional Relations, The Hall, 4 New Street, Salisbury, Wilts SP1 2PH: Tel: +44(0)1722-432622; Fax +44(0)1722-432623; E-mail