Life

Ask The Dentist: Diabetes and oral cancer

Lucy Stock, Dentist at Gentle Dental Care, Belfast, on why everyone needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer

The Oral Health Foundation is reminding people to be aware of the close links between oral health and wider wellbeing.
Lucy Stock

NEW research has discovered that women who suffer from diabetes face a dramatically increased chance of developing mouth cancer.

The research, published in Diabetologia, discovered that women have a 13 per cent higher chance of developing oral cancer if they suffer from diabetes.

Overall, women faced a 27 per cent increase of developing any form of cancer if they had diabetes, while men also faced a 19 per cent increased risk according to the study.

With previous research showing close links between diabetes and the development of mouth cancer and other forms of the disease, leading health charity the Oral Health Foundation is calling on people to be aware of the close links between their oral health and their wider wellbeing.

It is important not just for diabetics but for everyone to be aware of what the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer are. Be alert to ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the head and neck area.

If you experience any of these, visit your dentist immediately.

It is estimated that over four million people in Britain and the north live with diabetes, with many cases going undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to lifestyle and diet, has been rapidly increasing in recent years and is now one of the world's most common long-term health conditions.

However, scientists are busy researching a new weight management treatment, which includes a low-calorie diet, to help people put their Type 2 diabetes into remission.

The study is called DiRECT, short for Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, and it could completely change the way Type 2 diabetes is treated in the future.

A year into the research and the scientists have made an exciting breakthrough. They have shown that it's possible for some people to put their Type 2 diabetes into remission using a low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme, delivered by their GP.

Almost half (45.6 per cent) of those who took part in the programme were in remission after a year. 86 per cent of people who lost more than 15kg on the programme were in remission after a year, as were 57 per cent of people who lost 10 to 15kg, and 34 per cent who lost 5 to 10kg.

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