Getting married, travelling to Australia and skydiving are the three most common things Brits would do if they were diagnosed with cancer.
When asked to name three things they would add to a bucket list if they were told they had cancer, travelling was the most common theme, followed by getting hitched to their other half. Conquering fear made up the top three, with skydiving on many people’s lists.
A number of people said they would want to meet the Queen, as well as the newly pregnant Kate Middleton. Sporting legend Sir Ian Botham was also a popular name, as well as favourite film stars.
After being diagnosed with mouth cancer, Sally Bragg, 53, from Rugby, travelled the world following her remission.
Sally said: “The world is a massive place and when I was on my hospital bed fighting this disease I told myself that if I survive I want to see as much of it as I can. Whilst never given the all clear I continue to visit cities and countries near and far to relish the culture and scenery.
“I have been to the Caribbean, one of my favourite places on earth, as well as seeing a lot of Europe. Fortunately my husband loves travelling too so I have a willing companion, he never knows where I am going to suggest next!”
With a new-found vigour for living for today and embracing tomorrow, Sally is fully enjoying life. “I’ll never forget the pain I went through”, she said. “However, life is too short to deal with superficial problems. I’ve been given another chance, and I am doing my very best to make the most of it.”
The survey, conducted as part of November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, aims to educate the public about a disease on the rise. Raising awareness of the risk factors including tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and the human papillomavirus (HPV), often transmitted via oral sex, are high on the campaign’s agenda.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is run by oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation, and it’s Chief Executive, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, thinks the bucket lists show a determination to beat the disease.
Dr Carter said: “Mouth cancer sufferers have often told me being diagnosed with the disease is a life-changing experience. Some mouth cancer patients require several different surgical procedures, which could be spread across a number of years. Getting married, going travelling and conquering a fear is a release from the stress this can cause.
“The important thing for mouth cancer patients, perhaps more so than for any other form of the disease, is that it is caught early. If this is the case, not only will it will give you the chance to do all of the things on your bucket list, the chances of a complete cure are good. The smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure. However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.
“The survival rate for mouth cancers diagnosed early are almost 90 per cent. If it is not caught early, which unfortunately is quite often the case, this tumbles to 50 per cent.
“To catch it early, everyone needs to be mouth aware. If you notice an ulcer that has not healed within three weeks, unusual lumps or swellings and red and white patches in the mouth, visit your dentist or doctor immediately.”
For more information about the campaign, sponsored by Denplan, supported by Dentists’ Provident and the Association of Dental Groups and charity partner the Mouth Cancer Foundation, please visit the official Mouth Cancer Action Month website.