The Oral Health Foundation, organiser of Mouth Cancer Action Month, is asking dental professionals to pledge their support and help save lives by raising vital awareness of mouth cancer.
The campaign hopes to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by educating people on the risk factors, signs and symptoms, while also encouraging the public to discuss them with their dental professional.
Mouth cancer is one of the few cancers that continues to see incidence increase year-on-year, with cases rising by more than a third in the last decade alone. Being on the frontline in the fight against mouth cancer, dental professional’s support and participation remains instrumental in helping combat a disease that kills more people every year than testicular and cervical cancer combined.
CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, highlighted how the dental profession is central to the battle: ‘The chances are that we all know at least one person who has been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life, and we recognise the hurt and pain it can cause both physically and emotionally.
‘Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. It impacts areas of a person’s life many of us take for granted, such as their ability to breathe, eat, drink or even speak and can lead to subsequent problems like nutritional deficiencies and depression. Often difficulties in communication, low self-esteem, social isolation and the impact on relationships and career can cause as much distress as the cancer itself.
Unfortunately, survival rates for those with mouth cancer have not improved in the last 30 years. By being “Mouthaware” and spotting mouth cancer early enough we will give patients the best possible chance to beat mouth cancer and have a good quality of life.’
Like many cancers, early detection makes such a vital difference to a person’s chance of survival, in terms of mouth cancer early detection can dramatically increase the chances of survival to 90% from 50%.
Dr Henry Clover, chief dental officer of the campaign’s lead sponsor, Denplan, added: ‘Early detection of mouth cancer is pivotal in fighting against this disease and makes an enormous difference to survival rates. This means that all dental professionals are on the front line of raising awareness and helping patients understand the risks and symptoms.
‘By providing mouth cancer checks for their patients at routine appointments, dental professionals can open up discussions with their patients and encourage them to feel comfortable when talking about the lifestyle choices that may be putting them at risk of mouth cancer.’
Last year, more than 2,000 dental organisations supported Mouth Cancer Action Month through education of patients and local people about this devastating disease, alongside the huge benefits of good oral health for our overall health.
To sign up and receive your free registration pack for this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, visit www.mouthcancer.org/support.