November is Mouth Cancer Action Month and the UK’s leading oral health charity is asking you to pledge your support and help save lives by raising vital awareness of mouth cancer.
Organised by the Oral Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to reduce the amount of lives claimed by the disease and make a difference by promoting the importance of early detection and prevention.
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 which continues to see incidence increase year-on-year, with cases rising by over a third in the last decade alone. Being on the frontline in the fight against mouth cancer, your support and participation remains instrumental in helping combat a disease which 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.
Dr Carter continued: “The good news is that we, and you, on the frontline of the profession are in the perfect position to do something about it, by pledging your support you can help raise awareness amongst your patients and in your local community.”
“We remain enormously thankful and humbled by the continued support shown by the dental community for an increasingly important cause.”
Mouth Cancer Action Month is also supported by Dentists’ Provident and the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), who aim to help spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer to everyone in the UK and urge them ‘if in doubt get checked out!’.
Sarah Bradbury head of marketing and communications at Dentists’ Provident said: “For the fourth year running, we’re delighted to be supporting this campaign, not only for its value in increasing awareness of head and neck cancers with the public, but in educating the dental team as well. We actively support this campaign by communicating the important message of prevention to our members and reminding them that the dental team aren’t immune from oral and other cancers themselves.”
David Worskett, Chair of the ADG added: “We have been involved with Mouth Cancer Action Month for several years now in the hope that we can help to raise awareness and provoke action to help tackle the growing threat of this terrible disease. Our member groups share a passion to promote the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, with many holding open days and free mouth cancer screening sessions for their local communities each year. By continuing to raise awareness among the public, while also offering free education on the topic for professionals, we hope to encourage favourable trends in the numbers of new mouth cancer cases in the future.”
To pledge your support for Mouth Cancer Action Month please visit www.mouthcancer.org/support to sign up and receive your free information pack.