Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mouth Cancer Foundation Press Release

Mouth Cancer Awareness Week – November 13-19

CASE STUDY – Nigel Gooding - Exeter


Release: Immediate

Local man fighting back from deadly disease: “My friend saved my life!”

Mouth cancer kills one person every five hours in the UK. In addition, one in two sufferers dies as a result of the condition. However, with early detection survival chances increase significantly.

It was in March this year that 41-year-old Nigel Gooding first became aware of a small lump on his neck. He had leant his hand against it during a trip to Cheltenham Races and booked a doctors appointment when he got home.

Due to his flu like symptoms, it was originally thought that Nigel had mumps but with the lump on his neck still there two weeks later, his friend Nicola began to worry.

Nigel commented: “I am a single man who lives alone, but with two children who live with their Mum. I was not going to go to the doctors again to get the lump checked, but my friend Nicola begged me to go. I am so indebted to her. I have read statistics since that single men have less chance of survival with cancer because there are no partners to nag - so thank you Nicola!”

On Nigel’s second visit, the doctor expressed concern that the lump was in the wrong place for mumps and sent him straight to hospital.

There followed six weeks of tests; including two needle biopsies of the lump, a CT scan, a head x-ray, MRI scan and an endoscope of his throat.

In May, Nigel was admitted to hospital with a small tumour on his left tonsil. Diagnosed with cancer, he underwent a radical neck dissection to remove the lump, with intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions soon following.

He continued: “The specialists had no idea why I developed mouth cancer. I have never smoked. In addition, I spent much of my childhood and adult life keeping fit and running half marathons, as a reaction to my father’s heart disease being caused by smoking.

“Like most, I do enjoy a glass of wine and, like most, I have overindulged on occasion – but I am not a heavy drinker. I was told by the specialist that 25 percent of people who develop mouth cancer have no link to the major risk factors.”

Nigel was speaking the run up to Mouth Cancer Awareness Week (November 13-19).

The main risk factors of mouth cancer are smoking and drinking to excess, with people who do both being up to 30 times more likely to develop the condition. However, this year’s campaign is using the tagline ‘It Could Be You’ to inform people that the condition can strike anyone at any time.

Men are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer as women, although the ratio of women to men suffering with the condition has grown by a third in the last 10 years.

Nigel only discovered the condition a few months ago, but it has already had a very major effect on his life.

He said: “During my radiotherapy and chemotherapy I could not eat. I went eight days without eating, because my mouth and throat was burnt internally and chemo made me feel sick. I had to be fed through a tube via my nose and even drinking water caused tremendous pain.

“The first four weeks after treatment my quality of life was one out of ten – now it is closer to eight of ten, and I have even managed to get back to the gym!

“Of course when you have cancer you go through the normal questions – why me? How me? Have they got it wrong? Am I going to die? It was tough on my family too and had a big effect on my children.

“I am on the road to recovery now though. I still face the possibility that cancer could end me life at 41 but I have more purpose know. I value different things to what I did before cancer.”

Dr Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, who co-ordinate the awareness campaign, commented: “Early detection is the key to surviving mouth cancer, so we need to be examining our own mouths regularly as well as maintaining regular visits to the dentist.

“Look out for any unusual lumps or red or white patches in the mouth and if you have an ulcer that hasn’t healed after three weeks, get it checked by your dentist or doctor immediately.

“Self examination is now the norm for breast cancer and testicular cancer – it needs to be the same for mouth cancer.”

Members of the public can show their support for increasing mouth cancer awareness by purchasing the Campaign Blue Ribbon pin badge. The ribbon is available for only £1 including postage. Send the donation with a SAE to British Dental Health Foundation, 2 East Union Street, Rugby, CV22 6AJ. The money raised from the sale of ribbons will be used to expand the Foundation’s work on improving awareness of mouth cancer, which could save lives.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Week is coordinated by the British Dental Health Foundation, supported by Denplan, and backed by a wide range of leading national health organisations. These include Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), British Dental Association, British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Cancer Research UK, the health departments of the four UK countries, GKT, Mouth Cancer Foundation, Pharmacy Health Link, QUIT and Scope.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quitting smoking is not an easy task, and smoking tobacco is not something that can just be shrugged off at a whim once started. The best course of action is to never smoke cigarettes in the first place, but for many of us it's too late for that. The best way to overcome any challenge, I find, is to learn as much as possible first.