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Saturday 24th August 2019

Oral cancer on the rise

19th March 2012

Data released by Cancer Research UK has shown the number of cases of oral cancer in Britain is on the increase.


The charity said there were 6,200 cases of oral cancer this year, in comparison to 4,400 ten years ago.

The majority of oral cancer cases are linked to smoking, but experts said drinking and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) were also associated with the increase.

It is estimated that up to 80% of people in the UK catch HPV at some time, but the majority of cases do not cause any harm.

However some strains of HPV are linked to oral, cervical and other types of cancer.

The latest figures showed two-thirds of the new cases were found in men. The cancer normally takes ten years to progress.

Richard Shaw, a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) expert in head and neck cancers based at the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre, said: "We have noticed that patients with HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger, are less likely to be smokers and have better outcomes from treatment than those whose tumours show no evidence of HPV."

Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: "It's worrying to see such a big rise in oral cancer rates."

"But like many other cancers, if oral cancer is caught early, there is a better chance of successful treatment." 


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