MOUTH cancer is the sixth most prevalent cancer there is, but as yet, too few people realise they can play an important role in early detection.

Kelty woman Barbara Boyd is the first to admit she could have done more herself to head-off what happened to her in April last year because she thought the mouth problem she had was something that was going to heal up itself.

Now she is going around every dentists’ surgery in Fife ensuring that there is awareness about what to look out for as early detection is crucial to fighting the disease off.

Barbara, who is now the Patient Champion of charity Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer, told Cowdenbeath Rotary Club on Thursday of her experience last spring and how she had to learn to speak again after she lost a large part of her tongue.

Said Barbara: “It really started in November 2018 when I thought I had a mouth ulcer.

“Twice I went to the dentists about it but it was only later that it was discovered that my problem was a tumour on the underside of my tongue.

“From that moment things started to move fast and I had to have part of my tongue taken out and therapy to ensure the mouth cancer was totally removed.”

Barbara also have to have lymph glands removed in a fairly major operation to ensure the cancer could not spread.

“Basically I had to learn to speak again and I was very thankful for the work of my speech therapist and while it took quite a bit of time I was so pleased when I started to be able to speak to people again,” said the former teacher.

“It was a relief and when I met people from Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer I realised how important their message was about self examination.

“Feeling your lips, cheeks, tongue, plus roof and floor of your mouth is so important at locating possible signs of mouth council.

“A quick self examination can help early detection and the earlier the better”.

After her experience Barbara, who raised £1,960 for the charity with a special fundraising afternoon in August, is delighted to be helping spread the word on behalf of LTAMC.

“It is all about awareness and we are trying hard to ensure that mouth cancer gets the attention it deserves being the sixth most prevalent cancer,” she concluded.

“I would like to stress how important it is to self examine your mouth, it could be lifesaving.”