Mouth cancer – and an optimism for change

I am pleased to report that preparations for the launch of this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month are entering the final stages, with the 2010 campaign right around the corner.

Everyone involved with the Foundation, myself included, is enjoying a heightened sense of optimism this time around, following the nationwide success of our first month-long mouth cancer campaign last year.

As a charity, we have campaigned for the awareness of mouth cancer for over a decade and, as its success continues to develop, we remain even more committed to increase public awareness.

Incidence and mortality rates are still alarmingly high, with one person dying every five hours in the UK from the disease, and over 5,300 new cases being diagnosed every year.

Without early detection, the survival rate plummets to 50%, and this has not improved over the last 40 years.

That is why oral examinations, along with increased awareness of the risk factors must continue to be a priority.

I am delighted to announce that the official launch will be held on Monday 1 November and will once more be held in the Houses of Parliament – a fantastic setting to kick-off any campaign.

We are hoping to receive a strong turnout, with the cream of dentistry appearing, along with members of the press.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr David Conway from Glasgow University, who will talk about his recently received Unilever Hatton Award for research on the role of social inequalities in mouth cancer.

We are also expecting the results of this year’s mouth cancer survey to come in over the next couple of weeks.  It is always interesting to view the results and see exactly how much the public know about the illness.

It also gives us a great idea on what we need to focus on throughout the campaign, whether it is symptoms, treatments or guides for early diagnosis – the survey is certainly very important in this regard.

Results from the survey, along with any mouth cancer or campaign news, as always, are uploaded on our www.mouthcancer.org website, which has already been re-launched for the 2010 campaign.  I urge anyone who wants to know about the campaign, or the illness itself, to visit the site where there is a whole host of quality information, from spotting the early signs to how to get involved yourself.

To maintain its level of success, the campaign needs the support of the profession.

It relies on dental practices, hospitals and pharmacies to take part and get involved by hosting a Mouth Cancer Action Month event.

Only by being active and participating in the campaign can we start to see a rise in the levels of awareness of mouth cancer and aim to get more people being diagnosed at an earlier stage.  This year, I feel the Foundation has worked especially hard to deliver products and resources for those practices to get the very best out of their events and spread the awareness of mouth cancer.

Our Blue Ribbon Appeal kit, which contains lapel badges and other bits and pieces, in support of the illness, is again a popular item while free Mouth Cancer Action Month guides and free Denplan posters are still available at request.

I would to thank those that have been involved in the campaign in the past, which has helped the campaign grow to the success that it is today.  I also want to wish those that are getting involved this November the very best of luck with their events, and give them my upmost gratitude.

Finally, my thanks go to Denplan for their generous support with this year’s guide.

Mouth Cancer Action Month is a call for action; it’s never too late to get involved so let’s hope that together we can make a positive difference in many people’s lives.

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