26/09/2005 - Young people hit by mouth cancer
Increasing numbers of young people are being hit by mouth cancer, sparking
new warnings about the disease. Mouth cancer was once considered to mostly
affect older men, but it is now becoming more common in younger people and
It is possible that binge-drinking and smoking could be helping to fuel
rising rates of the disease as these are key risk factors. The ratio of women to
men suffering mouth cancer has grown by a third in the last 10 years, although
men are still twice as likely to develop the disease. Every year in the UK,
there are 4,300 new cases diagnosed and 1,700 deaths. The most common causes of
mouth cancer are smoking and drinking alcohol to excess - people who do both are
up to 30 times more likely to develop the condition than those who do not.
However, the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) said about 25% of mouth
cancer cases in younger people involved none of these common risk factors. The
foundation said this meant it was vital people learnt to be aware of the
possible symptoms, even if they led a healthy lifestyle.
- Original article in the Daily Mail
initially seem irrelevant to what we normally cover, but a factor
that has simply not been assessed is mobile phone usage. The possibility of
increased risk of head cancers such as acoustic neuromas from mobile phone usage
has become ever more evident, and mouth cancer would be very close to where a
regular mobile phone user would be holding their phone.
With this in mind, and the fact that the great increase over the last 10
years would also closely relate to the great increase in mobile phone usage,
this must surely be a risk factor worth considering, especially when the BDHF
state "we not to know the key causal factor of 25% of the cases".
It would seem sensible from now on to record the mobile phone use history
of young people developing mouth cancer to see if there is any association.