Brought to you by the British Dental Health Foundation and supported by the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), the Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign is this month, aiming to raise further awareness and rally more support than ever before.
“As long term supporters of the British Dental Health Foundation and Mouth Cancer Action Month, we are as pleased as ever to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause,” says Chair of the ADG, David Worskett. “By working together we can tackle oral cancer and make a real difference to those who suffer, one campaign at a time.”
With the latest figures showing that 6,767 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK each year,[i] educating and alerting people on the dangers of oral cancer remains crucial for ensuring early diagnosis and treatment.
As it stands, a referral to a specialist must be completed within a two-week time frame,[ii] and there is a one-month maximum wait from the date a decision to treat is made to the first definitive treatment.[iii] For survival rates to increase, delivery of these treatment pathways by NHS England must continue to be implemented and improved upon.
As Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE explains, “if more of us are aware of the potential dangers of long-lasting mouth ulcers, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, there could well be a reduction in the number of mouth cancer cases we are seeing.”
Do Your Bit
Unfortunately however, a lack of patient knowledge is evident, with statistics showing that only 40% of patients who develop oral cancer visit the dentist with concerns.[iv]. As Dr Nigel Carter OBE explains, “If the dental and wider health profession can inform and urge patients to regularly attend dental check-ups, we can increase the chances of mouth cancer being detected at an early stage.” That is why Mouth Cancer Action Month continues its efforts to inform and educate and why it urges you to incorporate regular screening for oral cancer into routine appointments.
Meanwhile, the British Dental Health Foundation will continue to provide educational materials to dental practices, hospitals, GPs and pharmacies, and remains passionate about improving the awareness of patients and professionals alike. Whether it’s through donning a blue ribbon, taking part in the Blue Lip Selfie Campaign, running an event or donating, you can give back to the cause and to your patients. Remember, all the support received really does make a difference to the charity and to the lives of the individuals who have suffered at the hands of oral cancer.
To donate or for more information about the ADG visit www.dentalgroups.co.uk
[i] Facts and Figures. Mouth Cancer Action Month. Accessed online August 2015. http://www.mouthcancer.org/facts-figures/
[ii] Your right: urgent two-week referral. The NHS Constitution. Accessed online July 2015. file:///Users/officeone/Downloads/Your%20right%20urgent%20two-week%20referral.pdf
[iii] Delivery Cancer Waiting Times: A Good Practice Guide. Accessed online July 2015. www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/delivering-cancer-wait-times.pdf
[iv] Hollows P, McAndrew P G, Perini M G. Delays in the referral and treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Br Dent J 2000; 188: 262–265. Accessed online July 2015. www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v188/n5/full/4800449a.html