An increasing number of dental patients understand how vital it is to spot – and then report – early signs of mouth cancer.
And dentists are the the perfect ‘frontline troops’ to lead the way on this at the soft-tissue examination stage.
That’s according to oral and maxillofacial surgeon Iain Hutchinson who launched the Mouth Cancer Action Month 2009 at the House of Commons on Monday (26 October).
Mouth Cancer Action Month runs for the whole of November and reaches all UK dental practices, pharmacies and other outlets.
Iain Hutchinson – surgeon at Bart’s and The Royal London Hospitals specialising in head and neck cancer and reconstruction – explained that while he knew that the reported and published statistics which now show more than 5,200 new cases for mouth cancer in the last (reported) year were correct – the good news is that there is now evidence that the message is getting through to the public that early diagnosis and treatment is vital.
Talking to a packed room of members of the House of Lords, MPs and some of the UK’s most influential people in UK dentistry, Mr Hutchinson stated that early diagnosis is probably more important in the case of mouth cancer than almost any other.
He explain that there are signs that patients are beginning to understand that changes in their mouths need to be taken seriously and professional attention needs to be sought speedily and he cited the British Dental Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action campaigns as making a real difference.
He asked MPs in the room to take note that in the next round of budgets more money should be applied to early detection as dentists canlead the way at examination stage.
He also touched on a sea change that he believes is taking place in terms of recognition of the disease saying that mouth cancer was at last being seen as a treatable disease like any other, and that much of this change in understanding stems from campaigns like Mouth Cancer Action Month.