South West oral cancer cases up by 50%

Oral cancer has increased by more than 50% in the South West in the past decade, official figures have revealed.

In 2000, there were 444 incidences in the region compared to 671 in 2010, the South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) has said.

The figures showed a gradual increase in the region - which stretches from the Isles of Scilly to Dorset and Gloucestershire - during the decade.

An SWPHO spokesperson said the rise could be down to an ageing population.

They added: "The risk factors for oral cancer are alcohol, smoking and in some ethnic groups, chewing betel.

"Oral cancer is a disease of older adults, therefore the rise in the South West is likely due to its increasing older population.

"There may also be an element of increased detection as dentists are aware of oral cancer and will look for it when doing health checks."

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