As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, a Brighouse man tells his story of facing mouth cancer and the impact which it has had on him and his family.
Paul Roebuck, 56, is a Psychotherapist and Mind Coach who dedicates his life to always being there for people to speak to and overcome problems in their lives.
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In 2017 Paul had a sore on his tongue, he could not get rid of it and it kept getting worse.
When he visited his dentist, he started on a path which saw him being told he had mouth cancer and would have to have part of his tongue removed, losing his ability to speak.
“My career is very important to me,” Paul said. “I run my own private counselling service which means everything to me as its the culmination of my own personal development and gives me the opportunity to help people overcome problems in their lives.
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"To hear that I had mouth cancer, the first thing I thought of was my speech. Facing the prospect of not being able to do my daily work, something I love and am passionate about, shook me to my core.”
After asking his doctor for the different options he had, Paul booked in for surgery which would see him have two thirds of his tongue removed. Following the surgery Paul worked hard to get back eating, drinking and most importantly speaking.
“Its been one year since my operation and I am still cancer free and hopefully that will stay that way,” Paul said. “I want to say, a huge thank you to everyone at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and the NHS who gave me the best medical treatment I could imagine, we are blessed in the UK.
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“Finally, I implore everybody, if you have any problem in your mouth go to your dentist straight away. It only takes a minute, is not intrusive and if you do have any problems you can get it sorted quickly and safely and save your voice too.”
Paul tells his story as the Oral Health Foundation releases new figures showing that three-in-four of us remain unaware about the symptoms of mouth cancer. There is also uncertainty about where mouth cancer appears while 82 per cent of us do not know how to check ourselves for mouth cancer.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “Look for mouth ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck. Persistent hoarseness could also be a potential sign of mouth cancer.”