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Granddad speaks out after surgery for mouth cancer
4:40pm Monday 7th May 2012 in News
REGULARLY eating your five a day and cutting out cigarettes and alcohol can help prevent mouth cancer, according to doctors at Warrington Hospital.
Each year 200 people are diagnosed in the town including Culcheth granddad Phillip Jackson.
The 69-year-old had an eight-hour operation in January 2007 to remove a tumour after smoking a pipe from the age of 23.
Mr Jackson said: “I thought it was chic and I looked like Cary Grant but I quit in 2004 when my dentist spotted a white spot.
“I was first treated with a laser which felt a bit like I was in a James Bond movie.
“But then I had to have the full operation which took part of my gum out and removed part of my jaw.”
The dad-of-three, who has grandchildren, was left with a scar and a feeling of numbness around one side of his mouth.
He added: “Sometimes I dribble when I’m eating and my wife Maureen has to nudge me but at least I’m alive.
“The white patch wasn’t painful at all which must by why so many people leave it.
“I was walking around in a daze for 24 hours when I first found out but thanks to the skill of the people involved I got through it.”
ADRIAN Thorp, associate specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon, said the key symptoms of mouth cancer are ulcers that do not heal for three weeks or red or white patches or unusual lumps inside the mouth.
Each year 5,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer, of which 2,000 will die, but early detection improves survival rates by 90 per cent.
Mr Thorp, who has been at the hospital for six years, said: “Men are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer than 10 years ago and the age range has dropped from over 40s to over 30s.
“Smoking and drinking are the main causes but also poor diet increases the risk of oral cancer.
“My message is if in doubt get it checked out.”
Chemo or radiotherapy are often not suitable treatment with surgery taking up to 12 or 14 hours to remove the tumour and check if the cancer has spread.
Mr Thorp, right, added: “Survival is important but you also have to ensure people can live their lives after the operation.”