Surgery for Mouth Cancer Is Brutal. Don't Ignore the Signs like I Did; Survivor Is Backing Campaign

The Journal (Newcastle, England), November 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

Surgery for Mouth Cancer Is Brutal. Don't Ignore the Signs like I Did; Survivor Is Backing Campaign


Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter helen.rae@ncjmedia.co.uk

AMOUTH cancer survivor is backing a campaign to highlight the link between alcohol and the lifethreatening condition.

Gordon Mullen, from Bellingham, Northumberland, underwent surgery to remove part of his tongue followed by gruelling sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy after he was diagnosed in 2008, when he was just in his 30s.

It was only after a prolonged period of discomfort and pain in his mouth that doctors diagnosed the cancer and were able to begin treatment.

As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, Gordon, who runs his own IT company, is supporting Balance's efforts to raise awareness of the small changes in lifestyle - such as cutting back on the amount of alcohol consumed as that can reduce a person's risk of developing the condition.

The 44-year-old said: "My mouth had been sore for some time but I initially just thought it would go away and sometimes it did but then it would keep coming back. I more or less put off dealing with it for a year or so but it was when I noticed a white patch on my tongue that I knew something wasn't right.

"I went to see the dentist and they referred me to the hospital and that's how I ended up being diagnosed. At the time I had barely even heard of it. It wasn't until the white patch appeared that I started to think about it and I actually noticed a poster when I was visiting the dentist warning people to be aware of mouth cancer.

"You always get the impression with these things that you have to be old, a smoker or a heavy drinker to be at risk but I wasn't any of these things so I didn't think it would affect me."

Following Gordon's diagnosis he had surgery to remove a one centimetre section on the right side of his tongue. …

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