Bad breath could be an early red flag for deadly cancer, warns doctor

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

Many of us make an active effort to avoid having bad breath with brushing our teeth regularly a common tactic to do so.

But despite our best efforts we can experience bad breath for other reasons.

Also known as halitosis it can signal certain health problems, including diabetes and periodontal disease, for example.

A doctor has warned it could also signal a deadly cancer.

According to Doctor Jiri Kubes, director of cancer treatment facility Proton Therapy Centre, it is one symptom of head and neck cancer.

READ MORE When your chest infection could be a sign of lung cancer – red flags

Head and neck cancer is the name for a group of cancers that affect those areas.

This includes cancer of the tongue, ears, mouth, throat and oesophagus among others.

Collectively they are the eighth most common type of the disease in the UK, accounting for around 12,000 cancer cases a year.

And according to Cancer Research UK, rates of head and neck cancer have increased by a third since the early 1990s.

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Dr Kubes said: “Head and neck cancer is one of the fastest-growing types of cancer in the world and an early diagnosis can make a major difference to the chances of defeating it.

“Some of the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for other common ailments, so it’s important to be aware of any changes to your body and address any concerns.”

He warned about bad breath as a symptom.

“Many people suffer from bad breath from time to time, but it could be an early warning sign of cancer and should be closely monitored,” he said.

Dr Kubes shared other signs to look for.

He continued: “A persistent sore throat that lasts more than two weeks is also one of the lesser-known symptoms of head and neck cancer.

“Sore gums, ulcers and pain in your teeth, white or red patches in the mouth can also be tell-tale signs.

“Another common early symptom is persistently blocked ears or persistent earache.

“And swelling in part of the neck, or some resistance when touching a part of the neck, could also be an indicator.

“While having any of these symptoms does not necessarily need to be a cause for alarm, it’s vital that if you suspect something is not right that you see your doctor.”

If you experience any symptoms you should speak to your GP.

The NHS states there are more than 30 areas where head and neck cancer can grow.

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