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BBC Scotland's Eleanor Bradford
"The cost of a check-up has put people off from going to the dentist"
 real 28k

Monday, 28 February, 2000, 19:39 GMT
Mouth cancer awareness bid
Mounth
Dentists say people are unaware of the dangers
A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of mouth cancer which kills around 200 Scots each year.

Dentists are putting into action a plan to enlist the services of all health workers in their battle against the killer disease.

Every year, 500 people in Scotland find out they are suffering from oral cancer - and nearly half of them will die.

The disease is twice as common north of the border and the number of sufferers has grown rapidly in recent years.

But ignorance about its existence is high and survival rates are no better than they were in the 1970s.

Early identification

Dentists believe prospects could be improved if more cases are identified early on.

But they reckon that could be difficult as only half the population is registered with a dentist.

That often results in victims suffering discomfort in their mouths and only approaching health professionals when it is too late.

Throughout the UK, around 1,600 people a year will die from cancers of the mouth, lip and tongue.

Smoking and the excessive drinking of alcohol are both prime risk factors for developing the condition which manifests itself in the form of lingering sores.

The British Dental Association believes the reduction of oral cancer should be included in government's targets for cutting cancer.

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See also:

20 Jan 99 |  Health
Dental threat of snacking
17 May 99 |  Health
Dental health drive launched
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