This week marks the 5th annual European Head and Neck Cancer Awareness week, run by the European Head and Neck Society. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of head and neck cancer and to improve outcomes for patients with the disease by:
- Providing education on the disease and its prevention
- Driving understanding of the signs and symptoms of the disease
- Encouraging earlier presentation, diagnosis and referral
Head and neck cancer is the seventh most common cancer in Europe. In 2012, there were more than 150,000 new patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer in Europe – that’s the equivalent of the London Olympic stadium nearly being filled twice.
Even though a large number of patients in Europe are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year there is still low awareness of the condition, treatment and how to manage symptoms associated with treatment.
60% of patients who are diagnosed at an advanced stage of head and neck cancer die from the disease within five years. However, patients who are diagnosed in the early stage are given an 80-90% survival rate highlighting the importance of spreading awareness, and diagnosing early.
The two most common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- A lump and/or ulcer in the mouth that doesn’t heal
- Discomfort or pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away
Other symptoms include:
- A white or red patch in the mouth that doesn’t go away
- Difficulty in pain with chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- A lot of weight loss over a short time
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Swelling in the neck
If you are displaying any of these symptoms, or are concerned, speak to your GP or Dental Professional immediately.
Patients undergoing head and neck cancer treatment, particularly radiation to the head and neck, may experience dry mouth due to their production of saliva diminishing. Saliva plays an important role in tasting, chewing, swallowing, speaking and general oral comfort and health.
The Oralieve Dry Mouth Relief product range has been specifically designed to help supplement the natural protective enzyme system of saliva and to provide lasting, effective relief from the symptoms of dry mouth.
Available in a gel, spray, toothpaste and mouthwash format, all Oralieve products are SLS-free, alcohol-free and do not contain strong flavours – to help prevent irritation to dry mouths. For a free trial pack of Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Gel click here or to view our online shop click here.
To read more about and how you can help spread awareness during European Head and Neck Cancer Awareness week, visit http://makesensecampaign.eu/en/.