Andrew Osafo reports on the launch night for Mouth Cancer Action Month and what dental professionals can do to raise awareness.
Mouth cancer is a serious and debilitating disease that can devastate and prematurely end lives. To raise awareness, Mouth Cancer Action Month runs throughout November.
The campaign will allow people to become ‘mouth aware’, and save lives through prevention and early detection. Will you be taking part in Mouth Cancer Action Month?
The Oral Health Foundation has been organising Mouth Cancer Action events for the last 19 years. I attended this year’s launch at the House of Commons. The launch event was jointly hosted by the Oral Health Foundation and the Mouth Cancer Foundation.
Sir Paul Beresford MP opened the event on 29 October. Above all he emphasised that early detection and diagnosis of mouth cancer dramatically improves survival rates, and makes treatment and rehabilitation easier. Early detection results in a 90% survival rate, compared to 50% in late detection.
The incidence of most cancers is reducing year-on-year, however, the occurrence of mouth cancer continues to increase. The change in the incidence of mouth cancer since the 1990s is up 30% and is projected to rise another 33% by 2035.
Awareness of mouth cancer is very low. According to the State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2019/2020, 64% of adults in the UK do not know the major signs or symptoms of mouth cancer.
Karen’s story to launch Mouth Cancer Action Month
At the launch event, Karen Liesching-Schroder spoke passionately about her mouth cancer experience and her ‘silver linings’. Karen’s journey deeply affected the audience.
Two initiatives could help raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month – the Blue Lip Selfie campaign and Blue Wednesday.
The Blue Lip Selfie campaign encourages the public and profession to wear blue lips as a visible sign of support for mouth cancer and take a selfie.
For Blue Wednesday, on 13 November, it was recommended everyone wears something blue.
Above all as dental professionals, we are in a prime position to raise awareness of mouth cancer and educate the public about this devastating condition.
Indeed our actions can help save lives. Therefore I encourage you to be involved in Mouth Cancer Action Month.
For more information visit www.dentalhealth.org/mouthcancer.