Following the success of the recent Mouth Cancer Action Month, Dr. Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, has called for both dentists and patients to maintain their vigilance throughout the year, to help prevent deaths from the disease.
Dr. Carter said: “The support from the profession since the campaign started has been sensational and has grown year-on-year. The sheer number of surgeries and PCTs taking part, through free screenings, decking the walls with our posters, sporting Blue Ribbon Badges and working hard to highlight the campaign has been immensely pleasing.
“Unfortunately, mouth cancer has become one of the UK’s fastest growing cancers, so in addition to raising awareness throughout the campaign, we’re asking the profession to carry on their good work and take action on the front line against this disease all year round—we are certainly in a great position to do so.”
He emphasized the worrying statistics surrounding the disease, including the fact that the recent statistics display a 10 percent increase in cases over the last 12 months alone. Survival rates from oral cancer increase significantly if the disease is caught early, from 5 out of 10 to 9 out of 10.
“Opening the practice doors to oral screening sessions, educating patients on risk factors will help save lives, boost awareness and take action to curb the impact of mouth cancer,” he said. “Offering simple self–diagnosis advice such as looking for ulcers which do not heal within three weeks and red or white patches or unusual lumps in the mouth and neck can also help toward early detection.”
He expressed his thanks to the companies and organizations that had backed the campaign and helped to distribute the materials to dental surgeries around the UK.
Dr. Henry Clover, Deputy Chief Dental Officer at Denplan said: “The statistics showing an increase in deaths from mouth cancer are deeply worrying. But there is good news—with early diagnosis, survival chances increase to 90 percent. The British Dental Health Foundation is leading the way in raising awareness of this killer disease and we are delighted to continue to support this campaign, to encourage greater participation from the dental profession and to help reduce these figures.”