STAFF at Warrington Hospital have been helping to launch Mouth Cancer Action Month after 200 people were diagnosed in the town in the last year.

The hospital’s maxillofacial and orthodontic department will be throwing open its doors on Wednesday for a free mouth cancer drop in screening from 9am to 12pm and 1 to 4pm.

Stephen Porter, hospital practitioner in oral maxillo-facial surgery, said anyone concerned should have their mouth checked by the specialist team.

He added: “Smoking or alcohol can make you six times more likely to develop mouth cancer whereas doing both will make you 40 times more likely.

“It’s important for anyone with worries or concerns to get it checked as early detection can save lives.”

Reporter Hannah Bargery was one of the first to be checked out during this year’s awareness month after the 2011 event saw 115 people visit the hospital for a screening, five were asked to come back for further investigations and one cancer was treated.

Signs include ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings and doctors added it was important to have regular visits to the dentist.

Dr Adrian Thorp, associate specialist at the hospital, added: “A growing number of people are developing the disease without displaying any traditional risk factors which underlines the need for check-ups and self-examination.”