The number of mouth cancer cases in the UK has increased by more than one-third in the last decade, per a new report by the Oral Health Foundation.

Mouth cancer cases have more than doubled within the last generation, with 36% of patients getting the disease in the past decade alone.

The report revealed that 3,034 people lost their lives to mouth cancer last year. The number of deaths due to the disease has also increased by 20%.

Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in the head and neck area, including the tongue, lips, salivary glands, and even the throat. These could manifest as mouth ulcers that take more than three weeks to heal. These sores are white or red in colour. People must see their doctors if they notice unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth, neck, or head.

Other symptoms of this cancer are chewing problems, speech difficulty, swallowing difficulty, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and weight loss, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

According to a report in The Independent, the chances of survival in mouth cancer cases have not improved in the last two decades because they are mostly diagnosed at stage four.

"While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate," said Dr. Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation (OHF).

"Traditional causes like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are quickly being caught up by emerging risk factors like the human papillomavirus (HPV)," he added.

"The stigma around mouth cancer has changed dramatically. It's now a cancer that really can affect anybody. We have seen first-hand the devastating effect mouth cancer can have on a person's life. It changes how somebody speaks, it makes eating and drinking more difficult, and often changes a person's physical appearance," he further stated.

The use of tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, a sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and a weak immune system are some of the factors that can cause mouth cancer.

The rise in mouth cancer among men is thought to be due to oral sex, smoking, drinking and bad diet. (Pic:
Representative image. (Pic: