Mouth Cancer Quality Improvement Tool launched to help dental teams identify oral cancerHealth Education and Improvement Wales is launching its Mouth Cancer Quality Improvement Tool to help dental teams identify oral cancer.

Mouth cancer affects around 8,000 patients every year in the UK and is the 11th most common cancer worldwide.

Indeed, HEIW hopes this new tool will help dental teams identify and diagnose cancers early.

‘While there have been great advances in the treatment of mouth cancer in recent years, the overall five-year survival rate post treatment remains at only 50%,’ Kirstie Moons, associate director for dental team workforce planning and development at HEIW, said.

‘Early detection and prompt action from dental teams can genuinely mean the difference between life and death.

‘Our Mouth Cancer Quality Improvement Tool will help dental teams feel confident.

‘Specifically it will help them provide preventative advice, diagnose mouth cancers early and support patients who have the disease.’

Mouth Cancer Quality Improvement Tool

Mouth Cancer Quality Improvement Tool contains resources to help raise awareness amongst patients of the causes of oral cancer.

It also equips patients to become more aware of the symptoms and the dental team confident with discussing suspected cancer with patients.

HEIW developed the toolkit with the help of dental teams at Public Health Wales and Cardiff University.

‘Having recently seen a patient with mouth cancer,’ Natalie Rees, a dental care professional involved in the pilot of the toolkit, said.

‘The toolkit allowed me to be confident in our practice processes.’

Mouth cancer rates

Mouth cancer rates in the UK have jumped by 64% since 2007, according to figures from the Oral Health Foundation.

Last year a record 8,337 people in the UK were diagnosed with oral cancer.

This marks the 10th year in a row new cases of this type of cancer have increased.

‘While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said.

‘Traditional causes like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are quickly catching emerging risk factors like the human papillomavirus (HPV).

‘The stigma around mouth cancer has changed dramatically.

‘It’s now a cancer that really can affect anybody.’