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People 'should be aware of oral cancer threat'

Treatment needs to begin during the early stages of oral cancer to be most successful, one expert has said.

Cancer Research UK has published figures which show that the number of new cases of oral cancer has surpassed 6,000 a year for the first time in the UK.

Sara Hiom, director of information at the charity, 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.

She added that it is vital people made themselves more aware of the symptoms of the disease.

Important signs include mouth ulcers that do not heal, lumps or thickening in the mouth, lips or throat and persistent red or white patches in the mouth.

The charity believes the human papillomavirus is responsible for many of the new cases of the disease, whereas the main historic causative factors have been smoking and alcohol consumption.

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People 'should be aware of oral cancer threat'
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