A MAGICIAN who suffered from oral cancer backing a charity campaign to raise awareness of the disease.

Mike Donoghue, 57, was diagnosed by his GP with mouth cancer ten years ago after discovering a lump in his neck while shaving.

Following his diagnosis, he had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Mike, from Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, said: “I had heard about lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, bowel cancer.

“But I didn’t realise there was a thing called mouth cancer. It was shocking news.

“I had noticed something unusual before I felt anything, but I thought it was just a muscle.

“By the time I went to get it checked out, the lump was quite large, about the size of a golf ball.

“I would encourage anyone who notices something that’s not normal for them to get it checked out as soon as possible.”

Symptoms to look out for include ulcers that do not heal, a lump in your neck, lip or mouth, white or red patches in the mouth, as well as difficulty swallowing.

New figures released by Cancer Research UK show men are more than twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer.

Around nine out of 10 oral cancer cases are linked to preventable causes like smoking, alcohol and contracting human papillomavirus (HPV).

The difference between cases in men and women may be due to men indulging more heavily in some of these activities.

The latest data shows around 5,300 men are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the UK compared to around 2,500 women.

The data also reveals oral cancer is more often diagnosed in men at a younger age compared with other cancers.

Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, tongue, lips, tonsils and the middle part of the throat.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK’s lead GP, said: “It’s a real concern that so many men are getting oral cancer and that it’s been on the rise in both men and women. The good news is that people can cut their risk by quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol.

“Early diagnosis is absolutely key for the best results which is why we’re set on helping dentists and GPs catch oral cancer sooner.

“It’s also vital that everyone knows what their mouth tongue and gums usually feel like so they can spot anything out of the ordinary.”