Charities lead call for mouth cancer action

The UK’s leading independent oral health charity has announced the launch of the Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign, dedicated to raising awareness of the killer disease.

Taking place throughout November, organisers the British Dental Health Foundation is also delighted to announce that the Mouth Cancer Foundation will be supporting this year’s campaign by raising awareness of the disease throughout the month.

Sponsored by Denplan and also supported by Dentists’ Provident and the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), the Foundation will be calling on dentists, doctors and pharmacists to educate members of the general public about a disease that kills more people in the UK than testicular and cervical cancer combined, under the tagline: ‘If in doubt, get checked out’.

Latest figures show more than 6,500 new cases a year are diagnosed in the UK, with one person dying every five hours from the disease. As a result, action really must be taken to raise awareness and change these figures. Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, highlights the importance of early detection in the battle against the disease.

Dr Carter says: ‘If the profession can inform and urge patients that regularly attending check-ups increases the chances of mouth cancer being detected at an early stage, together we can help to raise awareness of this killer disease.

‘Almost nine in 10 people survive mouth cancer if it is caught early, yet the five-year survival rate remains as low as 50%. Encouraging patients to perform self-diagnosis such as looking for ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual lumps or swelling can also help towards early detection.’

Roger Matthews, Denplan’s chief dental officer said: ‘Denplan is extremely proud to be working so closely with the Foundation once again on Mouth Cancer Action Month, which we have supported for many years. Oral health and the prevention of disease is at the heart of everything we do at Denplan and we will be encouraging all our member dentists to offer free oral health screenings as part of their activity – particularly our Excel accredited dentists, who have access to our unique risk assessment software, endorsed by the Foundation. Together with the other organisations involved, we can help to raise awareness and ultimately save lives.’

Founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Dr Vinod Joshi, praised the partnership, saying: ‘The two charities share the common objective of raising awareness about mouth cancer and it makes total sense for us to join forces to make this November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month a resounding success.’

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