Television presenter Llewela Bailey urged Midlanders to have regular health check-ups as she launched a mouth cancer awareness campaign yesterday.
On May 13 the 47-year-old's husband, barrister Martin Jenkins, died at the couple's Birmingham home after losing his 19- month battle against the disease.
Ms Bailey spoke out as Cancer Research UK revealed the number of mouth cancer cases had risen by more than 25 per cent between 1992 and 2001 from 3,411 to 4,285 - which is being linked to increased alcohol consumption.
"Mouth cancer is treatable if caught early on, but this can only be done by seeing your dentist or doctor," she said.
The charity's Open Up To Mouth Cancer initiative also revealed only 14 per cent of young people in the West Midlands knew drinking increased the risk of developing the disease - and that those who smoke and drink are 25 times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Ms Bailey admitted she was unaware of the increase risk posed by drinking, especially as the legal profession has a "very social culture".
She said: "Whenever Martin and his colleagues would finish a case they'd go to the pub and drink together, network and relax. Their profession has a very social culture and drinking is part of that. "He was the sort of person who never went to see a doctor or dentist so it was terrible to try and get him to go see them if something was wrong."
However, before a family holiday to Portugal in August 2003, Mr Jenkins went to see his GP with a persistent cough and was referred to a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston.
Ms Bailey added: "When Martin went to the hospital In October 2003, I felt I needed to go with him for some reason.
"I think on some level he already knew what he was going to hear, even so when the consultant said it was cancer, I just burst into tears."
She said: "The cancer was inoperable, it had wrapped itself around his throat and voicebox. Martin asked how long he had and when the doctor said three months his response was 'I don't suppose you want my Ashes tickets then?'
"If people could've seen how this beautiful, clever and funny man suffered as he died the way he did, I am sure they would never light up another cigarette."