Spread the word about mouth cancer all year round

Spread the word about mouth cancer all year round

Catherine Rutland discusses the importance of dentists spreading the word about mouth cancer all year round.

I love so many parts of my role and some parts I feel very privileged to do.

One of those is radio interviews for Mouth Cancer Action Month.

The ability to communicate with so many people across the country and raise awareness of oral cancer is very special.

I know I have written about this before, yet it is important to reiterate my thoughts.

This is a cancer that, year-on-year, sees the number of new cases increase.

Awareness among the general population is still low, and as a profession we must help to improve this.

While the campaign raises awareness for a month, the profession’s role continues, needless to say, all year.

To put it bluntly, we clearly aren’t great at it.

While the population has been told to look out for signs of many other cancers, such as breast and prostate, how often do we tell our patients to look in their own mouths regularly?

Are they solely relying on us to be the ‘watcher’ of their mouths?

That just isn’t the best way, delaying possible diagnosis and worsened long-term outcomes.

Mouth cancer focus

Keeping journalists on topic can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

Turning their dental horror stories into good news about how far the profession has come on in the last decades can feel a bit like a dance.

This year I was joined in the studio by Ben Atkins, president-elect of the Oral Health Foundation.

We treated getting the journalists back on track as a team challenge.

On the walk back to the station, the adrenaline ebbed out of me and the stillness of reflection moved in.

We really are talking about life and death, and also quality of life post-treatment here.

As a profession, we need to focus on that and make sure we communicate it all year round.

We know what we’re looking for, so let’s make sure the patients know we are looking.