Dentist’s warning after healthy dad-of-seven who didn’t drink or smoke dies aged 37

A dentist has warned that thousands of Brits may be unknowingly living with mouth cancer after a “healthy” dad-of-seven died from the disease.

Alan Birch, 37, lived a healthy, active lifestyle and did not drink or smoke but died from an aggressive form of mouth cancer in April.

The self-employed plasterer, from Wirral in Merseyside, was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2018, and had to have 90 per cent of his tongue removed, Liverpool Echo reports.

Despite Alan undergoing both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the cancer returned each time and specialists told his devastated family there was nothing more they could do for him.

Alan and his partner of 12 years, Debbie McDonough, decided to get married in February, but he tragically died a few weeks later in April.

Dad-of-seven Alan Birch died of mouth cancer in April

Alan lived a healthy, active lifestyle and did not drink or smoke

With the latest figures from the British Dental Association showing that 19 million treatments have been missed due to lockdown, dentists are now concerned about the number of cases of mouth cancer that will have potentially gone undiagnosed this year as a result.

Mouth cancer takes more lives than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined, with 8,722 new cases reported in the UK last year. This is a 58 per cent increase compared to a decade ago and a 97 per cent rise since 2000.

Debbie said: “I would urge people to always keep on top of their dentist appointments as they are the ones who notice the warning signs for mouth and tongue cancer.

“Always be careful of ulcers especially if you have them longer than two weeks, and never think you are wasting an appointment if you are worried about anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Alan had 90 per cent of his tongue removed when he was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2018

New research revealed that 52 per cent of people living in the North-West are unaware their dentist will screen them for mouth cancer during a routine check-up.

Dr Catherine Tannahill, dentist and director of clinical dentistry at Portman Dental Care, which carried out the research, said: “As dentists we see first-hand the impact this disease can have, and that’s why we want to ensure people are aware of what the signs and symptoms are, what to do if they spot an issue and what steps they can take to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.

“This is now more important than ever before, as thousands of diagnoses may have potentially been missed this year due to dental practices having to close in initial lockdown, and the subsequent backlog of appointments since.

“While this may sound alarming, early diagnosis of mouth cancer leads to a 90 per cent survival rate, which is why it is imperative that people continue visiting their dentist for regular check-ups.

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Dentist’s warning after ‘healthy and active’ dad dies at aged 37

A healthy dad of seven who died after being diagnosed with an aggressive type of mouth cancer has led to warnings from dentists.

Alan Birch was just 35 when he had 90% of his tongue removed as a result of the disease in 2018. His cancer diagnosis came as a shock, as he lived a healthy, active lifestyle and did not drink or smoke.

Alan, from Moreton in Merseyside underwent both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but despite the treatment, the cancer returned each time – and even more aggressively.

His devastated family were then faced with the news that there was nothing more that could be done for him, giving him just months to live.

Alan died in April, just weeks after marrying his partner of 12 years, Debbie McDonough.

His wife Debbie told the ECHO at the time: “I would urge people to always keep on top of their dentist appointments as they are the ones who notice the warning signs for mouth and tongue cancer.

“Always be careful of ulcers especially if you have them longer than two weeks, and never think you are wasting an appointment if you are worried about anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

His tragic case has now prompted concerns that thousands of cases are going undiagnosed.

While figures from the British Dental Association show that 19 million treatments have been missed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

Dentists are now concerned that large numbers of cases of mouth cancer could have potentially gone undetected this year as a result.

Mouth cancer claims more lives annually than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined, with 8,722 new cases reported in the UK last year. This is a 58% increase compared to a decade ago and a 97% rise since 2000.

But research states there is still a chronic lack of awareness and knowledge surrounding this type of cancer – and dentists are keen to rectify this.

New research revealed that 52% of people living in the north west are unaware their dentist will screen them for mouth cancer during a routine check-up. This figure was highest with those aged between 25-35, increasing to 61%.



a man and a woman sitting at a table: Alan Birch, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the mouth, signs the marriage register with his long-term partner - now wife - Debbie McDonough


© Joe Hague Photography
Alan Birch, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the mouth, signs the marriage register with his long-term partner – now wife – Debbie McDonough

Dr Catherine Tannahill, dentist and director of clinical dentistry at Portman Dental Care, which carried out the research, said: “As dentists we see first-hand the impact this disease can have, and that’s why we want to ensure people are aware of what the signs and symptoms are, what to do if they spot an issue and what steps they can take to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.

“This is now more important than ever before, as thousands of diagnoses may have potentially been missed this year due to dental practices having to close in initial lockdown, and the subsequent backlog of appointments since.

“While this

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Dentist issues warning after ‘healthy’ dad dies at 37

The tragic case of a Wirral dad-of-seven who lost his battle with an aggressive form of mouth cancer has led to concerns that thousands of cases are going undiagnosed.

Alan Birch, 37, had 90% of his tongue removed when he was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2018.

Despite Alan undergoing both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the cancer returned each time and specialists told his devastated family there was nothing more they could do for him.

The news was even more shocking as Alan, a self-employed plasterer from Moreton, lived a healthy, active lifestyle and did not drink or smoke.

It was after learning of the devastating diagnosis that Alan and his partner of 12 years, Debbie McDonough, decided to get married. The wedding ceremony in February was attended by more than 150 family and friends.

Debbie said at the time: “Usually the cancer he has is curable, but he got it in a very aggressive form. Every time they operated, it came back worse.”



a group of people posing for the camera: Dad-of-seven Alan Birch, pictured with his partner Debbie


© Liverpool Echo
Dad-of-seven Alan Birch, pictured with his partner Debbie

After winning hearts across Merseyside, sadly Alan died a few weeks later in April.

Mouth cancer takes more lives than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined, with 8,722 new cases reported in the UK last year. This is a 58% increase compared to a decade ago and a 97% rise since 2000.



a man and a woman sitting at a table: Alan Birch and Debbie McDonough on their wedding day in February


© Joe Hague Photography
Alan Birch and Debbie McDonough on their wedding day in February

With the latest figures from the British Dental Association showing that 19 million treatments have been missed due to lockdown, dentists are now concerned about the number of cases of mouth cancer that will have potentially gone undiagnosed this year as a result.

But there is still a lack of awareness and knowledge around this type of cancer – something which dentists are keen to continue to try and rectify.

This comes as new research revealed that 52% of people living in the north-west are unaware their dentist will screen them for mouth cancer during a routine check-up. This figure was highest with those aged between 25-35, increasing to 61%.

What are the latest coronavirus figures for where you live? Find out by adding your postcode.

Dr Catherine Tannahill, dentist and director of clinical dentistry at Portman Dental Care, which carried out the research, said: “As dentists we see first-hand the impact this disease can have, and that’s why we want to ensure people are aware of what the signs and symptoms are, what to do if they spot an issue and what steps they can take to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.

“This is now more important than ever before, as thousands of diagnoses may have potentially been missed this year due to dental practices having to close in initial lockdown, and the subsequent backlog of appointments since.

“While this may sound alarming, early diagnosis of mouth cancer leads to a 90% survival rate, which is why it is imperative that people continue visiting their dentist

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State close to topping 17,000 deaths as Fauci gives grim warning

The total of pandemic deaths in Florida edged closer to 17,000 on Sunday as the state reported another 28 fatalities related to COVID-19.

Florida also tallied another 4,865 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 807,412 since the pandemic began in March.

Overall, 16,997 people have died, including 208 non-residents who died in Florida.

Most of the 28 deaths reported Sunday happened in recent weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

With cases spiking across the nation, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert warned the U.S. will face a rising death toll and “a whole lot of hurt” in the coming weeks.

We need to make an “abrupt change” in public health precautions nationwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Washington Post in a story published Saturday night.

His comments contradict President Donald Trump’s claim that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post the U.S. was likely to see 100,000 or more cases a day this winter.

“It’s not a good situation,” Fauci said. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has now surpassed 9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 46.3 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 across the globe.

Worldwide, nearly 1.2 million have died from the highly infectious coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has the highest number of deaths, with at least 230,811 as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

On Friday, Florida reported 5,592 new cases of COVID-19 — the most new cases in one day since Aug. 15, when the state tallied 6,352 cases. Florida reported 7,569 cases on Sept. 1, but much of that spike was due to a backlog of lab results.

On Saturday, the number of new cases dropped to 2,331.

South Florida

Broward County: 726 additional confirmed coronavirus cases and three more deaths. The county has a known total of 86,961 cases and 1,555 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The death tally includes 29 non-residents.

Palm Beach County: 332 additional cases of COVID-19 and no reported deaths. The county now has 52,779 confirmed cases and 1,612 deaths, including 24 non-residents.

Miami-Dade County: 918 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths. The county now has 186,809 confirmed cases and 3,684 deaths, including 22 non-residents.

Testing and positivity rates

Public health experts say the virus is considered under control when the COVID-19 test positivity rate is under 5%.

Florida exceeds 5% in one of its measures for assessing the positivity rate for testing of residents.

In the first calculation, the state reported a daily positivity rate of 4.32% on Sunday, down from 6.31% on Saturday.

This method of calculating positivity counts new infections only, but also counts repeat negative

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Utah sent every phone in the state an emergency alert warning about rapidly rising Covid-19 cases

“State of Utah: COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. Record cases. Almost every county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed,” read the alert. “By public health order, masks are required in high transmission areas. Social gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer.”

“Be careful!” it warned, alongside a link containing more information about the ever-worsening coronavirus surge.

The messages were sent beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday and remained active for 15 minutes.

Typically used for severe weather and AMBER Alerts, state and local officials are increasingly deploying these Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to warn of Covid-19 spikes as well. Through late September, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), local officials had sent the public than 400 such alerts.

Typically they are targeted to a city; New Yorkers have gotten a few. But Utah’s appears to be the first time a WEA was sent to an entire state. Officials explained in a news statement that the “dire situation” there drove them to try the stark approach.

“Despite the ongoing pandemic, there are a number of people who are not aware of the dire situation we find ourselves in,” state officials said. “As a result, the emergency alert was an effort to “make sure nearly everyone is aware of the serious nature of the pandemic.”

The alert came as the state hit a grim milestone, as Utah hits record highs in several Covid-19 measures, including number of new cases, 7-day case average, and test positivity percentage, the state data dashboard shows.

In a press conference on Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called the state’s situation “one of the worst outbreaks in the country.”

The state reported a record 2,281 new Covid-19 cases Friday, according to state data. Previously, its record high was 1,989 cases on October 22. Furthermore, its 7-day case average now sits at a record of 1,621.7 cases, and its percentage of positive tests is at a record 18.17% as of Friday. All of these barometers are steadily climbing.

Meanwhile, 72.5% of Utah’s ICU beds are occupied, along with 54% of its traditional beds, according to the state dashboard, meaning that hospitals are quickly running out of space for new patients.

All this comes as the US hits a record of 9 million Covid-19 cases, a number that experts are warning will continue to surge.

CNN’s Jenn Selva contributed to this report.

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‘Medicated’ Halloween edibles resembling name-brand candy prompt Indiana State Police warning

Parents in Indiana have been warned to be extra vigilant with any Halloween candy given to their young trick-or-treaters this year.

In a recent Facebook post, the Indiana State Police shared photos of seized holiday edibles featuring packaging that resembles that of actual name brands — but with the word “medicated” printed on the wrapper along with cannabis symbols. 

“Parents, here is an example of what to look for in your child’s Halloween candy this year,” the post reads. “These were seized just this past weekend by one of our Troopers from the Lowell post. While they are packaged and marketed to look like candy, they are not.”

THESE ARE YOUR GENERATION’S FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDIES, SURVEY SUGGESTS

“Please thoroughly check all candy and don’t assume it’s ‘OK’ just because it looks ‘OK,’” the post continued. “Thank you to Sgt. Glen Fifield, PIO for the ISP post in Lowell for this information.”

“The post was made as a reminder for parents to take an extra moment to carefully check their children’s Halloween candy because sometimes things aren’t always as they seem,” Capt. Ron Galaviz, chief public information officer for the Indiana State Police, told Fox News, 

Another cause for concern: It remains unclear where these fraudulently branded edibles are manufactured considering neither are legitimate Starburst Gummies or Skittles, which are owned by Mars Wrigley.

THIS IS THE ‘WORST HALLOWEEN CANDY,’ ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY

“These are not official Mars products as they were not created nor supported by the company,” a company spokesperson confirmed for Fox News. “We’re taking action to protect our consumers and are looking into the entity that is utilizing our brand names on these products.“

In a separate edible-related incident from last year, two children were given THC-infused gummies while trick-or-treating, according to police in Waterford, Conn.

THC is the main active ingredient linked to the psychedelic effects of cannabis – the plant from which marijuana is derived; and its affects could have a negative impact on children, according to The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

HALLOWEEN CANDY SLIDE MAY HELP TRICK-OR-TREATING STAY SOCIALLY DISTANCED

The journal’s “Cannabinoids in Pediatrics” study found that although there are some clinical uses for THC and CBD for certain medical conditions, children have been increasingly ingesting these compounds by accident in recent years. Researchers who worked on the limited study took into account pediatric hospitalizations and poison control calls made between 2005 and 2011, and suggested the incidents could be connected to the decriminalization of marijuana.

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Patients of accidental ingestions experienced symptoms such as lethargy, ataxia and respiratory insufficiency. Only two instances required admission into pediatric intensive care units in that six-year span.

Aside from marijuana-related edibles and any other potential candy tampering, parents and children will have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic this Halloween.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage virtual celebrations over in-person gatherings.

However, for those

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COVID rising in southwest Va.; health system issues warning

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Southwest Virginia is seeing a sustained, troubling increase in cases of COVID-19 driven partly by small family gatherings, the governor and top health officials said Wednesday, as one area health system issued a stark warning that its resources were being stretched thin.

“To be quite frank, today our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic,” said Jamie Swift, the chief infection prevention officer for Ballad Health, which serves southwest Virginia, as well as adjacent parts of Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference in Richmond that Virginia overall is among just a handful of U.S. states not reporting large increases in COVID-19 cases. But the seven-day testing percent positivity rate in the region’s westernmost localities is about twice the rate of the rest of the state’s 5.1 % and has been increasing for 15 days, Northam said.

“I strongly urge everyone in the southwest — look at these numbers and step up your precautions,” Northam said.


The governor said there were no immediate plans to introduce new regional restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, but he said such a move was a possibility if the numbers keep trending up.

Northam and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey said gatherings of extended family members not living in the same household were contributing to the spread. Virginia has so far reported nearly 177,000 cases of COVID-19 and just over 3,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to health department data.

Dr. Karen Shelton, the director of a health department district that includes much of southwest Virginia, wrote in an email that other factors contributing to what she called a “surge” in cases included: outbreaks at churches, inconsistent mask wearing, in-person schooling, social gatherings of friends and coworkers, and relatively fewer people telecommuting due to less broadband access.

Shelton also said a surge in cases in neighboring Tennessee was contributing.

“Tennessee has fewer regulations and has had events, social gatherings, and sports. Friday night football has continued with fans gathering closely in stands without masks,” she wrote.

Swift, Ballad’s infection prevention officer, said at a news conference that it was “past time” for the area to change its behaviors.

The health system said it had seen a 43% increase in the cases across its region over the past week, 88.5% of its ICU beds were full, and it had 181 team members in quarantine or isolation.

“At this rate, we’re only going to be able to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Ballad’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton.

Dane Poe, the administrator of Lee County, located in the furthest southwest tip of Virginia, said the county has been lucky so far to not have more than a few dozen cases requiring hospitalization. The county’s only hospital closed in 2013.

Still, having to be prepared for the additional hospital trips has further strained the six already-strapped volunteer agencies in the country that provide ambulance services,

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Idaho county drops mask mandate despite warning of overwhelmed hospital

Boise, Idaho — Moments after hearing an Idaho hospital was overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care, members of a regional health department board voted Thursday to repeal a local mask mandate.
 
“Most of our medical surgical beds at Kootenai Health are full,” Panhandle Health District epidemiologist Jeff Lee told board members in the state’s third most populated county.

The hospital in Coeur d’Alene reached 99% capacity a day earlier, even after doubling up patients in rooms and buying more hospital beds. Idaho is one of several states where a surge of COVID-19 infections is overwhelming hospitals, likely in part because cooler weather is sending people indoors, U.S. health officials said.

kootenai-health-covid-53.jpg
A Kootenai Health nurse works on a computer while caring for a patient on the COVID-19 isolation ward at the hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in an undated photo provided by Kootenai Health. 

Kootenai Health/Handout


“We’re facing staff shortages, and we have a lot of physician fatigue. This has been going on for seven months — we’re tired,” Lee said.
 
He introduced several doctors who testified about the struggle COVID-19 patients face, the burden on hospitals and how masks reduce the spread of the virus.

But the board voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate. Board members overseeing the operations of Idaho’s public health districts are appointed by county commissioners and not required to have any medical experience.
 
Board member Walt Kirby said he was giving up on the idea of controlling the spread of coronavirus.
 
“I personally do not care whether anybody wears a mask or not. If they want to be dumb enough to walk around and expose themselves and others, that’s fine with me,” Kirby said. “Nobody’s wearing the damned mask anyway… I’m sitting back and watching them catch it and die. Hopefully I’ll live through it.”


Wisconsin sees record COVID-19 death toll

03:44

Another member, Allen Banks, denied COVID-19 exists.

“Something’s making these people sick, and I’m pretty sure that it’s not coronavirus, so the question that you should be asking is, ‘What’s making them sick?'” he told the medical professionals who testified.
 
Similar scenes — with doctors and nurses asking officials for help, only to be met with reluctance or even open skepticism — have played out across the conservative state. Idaho is sixth in the nation for new coronavirus cases per capita, with the average number of confirmed cases increasing by more than 55% every day over the past two weeks.
 
Still, Republican Gov. Brad Little has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate or limit crowd sizes beyond requiring social distancing at large events and in businesses, which is seldom enforced. Instead, Little has left it up to local health departments and school districts to make the tough decisions that sometimes come with blowback from the public.


Coronavirus cases surge in the Dakotas

03:49

In the southern city of Twin Falls, hospital officials told health board members this week that they too were

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Here Is What CT’s Coronavirus Warning Levels Mean

CONNECTICUT — Connecticut unveiled new guidance Thursday on how communities and individuals should respond to higher levels of coronavirus infections.

The state has three warning levels for infections that are based on the number of daily infections reported per 100,000 population over a 2-week average.

The color-coded levels are yellow, orange and red. Towns in the red threshold have the option to scale back to the state’s second reopening phase, which would lower capacity at restaurants, private commercial gatherings like weddings and other gatherings.

The state will update the warning levels each week.

There are currently 11 towns in the red warning zone with most in southeastern Connecticut.

This week, the following municipalities are in the higher red-level alert category:
• Danbury
• Hartford
• Windham
• Montville
• East Lyme
• New London
• Norwich
• Sprague
• Canterbury
• Preston
• Griswold

Below is an explainer from the state on what the different levels mean:

Red: 15+ cases per 100,000 population per day over a 2-week average.

High risk individuals should stay home.

Individuals: Limit trips outside home, avoiding gatherings with non-family members.

Communities: Cancel public events and limit community gathering points, alert residents via reverse 911 system.

Organized group activities: Postpone all indoor activities. Postpone outdoor activities where mask wearing or social distancing cannot be maintained at all times.

Pre K-12 schools: In collaboration with local health department and superintendent, consider more distance learning if cases are greater than 25 per 100,000 residents per day over two week average.

Orange: 10-14 cases per 100,000 residents per day over 2-week average.

Individuals: Avoid larger events, limit time with non-family members.

Communities: Scale back public events.

Organized group activities: Limit group sizes. Postpone indoor activities where mask wearing or social distancing cannot be maintained.

Pre K-12 schools: Maximize spacing, mask wearing, ventilation and hygiene to support in-person learning.

Yellow: 5-9 cases per 100,000 residents per day over 2-week average.

Individuals: Use masks, social distancing and take extra precautions if high-risk for coronavirus complications.

Communities: Scale up public awareness

Organized group activities: Move activities outdoors when possible.

Pre K-12 schools: Reinforce and monitor safety measures with staff, students and families.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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