The campaign, which drew to a close at the end of November, has had a significant impact on all areas of the UK’s healthcare industry.
As well as the enormous support that Mouth Cancer Action Month has once again received from the UK’s dental community, the Oral Health Foundation is particularly pleased with the strong support garnered from others areas of the healthcare industry, including pharmacies, general practices and maxillofacial surgeons.
The charity is thankful and extremely encouraged to see growing support from many different healthcare teams, as this strong mix of providers plays a vital role in helping to limit the impact of mouth cancer on the population.
CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, hailed the effect that this has had on the campaign: ‘Like many other types of the disease, a person’s chances of surviving mouth cancer relies heavily on being able to get an early diagnosis, that is why it is vital that we get as many people as possible talking about the disease.
‘If people can access the information that could save their life through their doctor or pharmacy then it gives them a better chance of catching it early. At best, people only visit their dental practice once every six months and in the times in between it can be very easily to overlook signs of mouth cancer and the disease progressing.
‘This is why, during Mouth Cancer Action Month, we were delighted to see the incredibly strong support from across the healthcare industry and unprecedented amounts of information being distributed around the signs, symptoms and causes of mouth cancer.
‘With mouth cancer cases rising at an alarming rate in the UK, the need for action now is stronger than ever. It is increasingly important that we all continue to come together to provide greater education, support and awareness, particularly in high risk groups and areas of low social economy.
‘We want to share our thanks with everybody who has been part of Mouth Cancer Action Month and ask you to continue to fight back against this terrible disease.’
Mouth Cancer Action Month is an important springboard in educating the public about mouth cancer. Under the message ‘if in doubt, get checked out’ the campaign has helped facilitate thousands of events and projects, and continues to act as a focal point for people to campaign together, raise awareness and take action.
The campaign, which is sponsored by Denplan, has become an amazing opportunity for health educators, health professionals, schools and workplaces, to increase their important work of delivering oral health education, especially in disadvantaged communities and regions of known poor oral health while delivering greater awareness of mouth cancer.
Dr Henry Clover, chief dental officer of the campaign’s lead sponsor, Denplan, said: ‘We have been thrilled at the huge number of dental professionals and their patients around the country have got involved this year, whether it has been through our #BlueLipSelfie campaign, open events, or fundraising.
‘Mouth Cancer Action Month and #BlueLipSelfie are the tools for us to open up and tackle a potentially difficult and emotional subject, and we should make sure that this work continues even though Mouth Cancer Action Month itself has concluded.’
Mouth Cancer Action Month, which is also supported by Dentists’ Provident and the Association of Dental Groups, is a vital platform for healthcare professionals to talk to patients, for patients to talk to their family and for family to talk to friends. Knowing the signs and symptoms is the only way collectively to catch the disease. Be on the lookout for ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth.
The Oral Health Foundation’s advice to everyone is extremely simple – if in doubt, get checked out.