Mouth Cancer Action Month is now one of the major springboards for raising awareness of a disease that kills one person every 5 hours in the UK. We’re continuing to support the campaign by providing an educational grant to the British Dental Health Foundation to raise awareness and help reduce deaths. And, once again, we are calling on our members and your practice teams to get involved and ultimately, to help save lives.
Over the past few years, the profession has rallied to help promote awareness of mouth cancer, and Denplan members in particular have been among the first to offer free oral cancer screenings. If mouth cancer screening is performed on each patient at regular intervals, especially on high risk patients, this will make a major contribution to the early detection of the disease.
Explaining your screening work to your patients will also improve awareness among their families and friends also. This year’s campaign focus is on the benefits of early detection, which increases survival to 90%. It’s estimated that 6,000 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer this year and with your help, early detection will extend the lives of around 5,400 of them. Your participation is crucial. Together we can make a difference.
Did you know?
- The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can be transmitted via oral sex, is increasingly being linked to mouth cancer. Younger people are particularly at risk, and those with multiple sexual partners even more so
- Around a fifth of the UK’s population smoke and the habit is still considered the leading cause of mouth cancer
- Drinking to excess can increase mouth cancer risks by four times
- As alcohol aids the absorption of tobacco into the mouth, those who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease
- Although some people believe ‘smokeless’ tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is much more dangerous
Facts and figures
Latest figures (2008) show 5,790 cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK
- Mouth cancer cases increased by 46% between 1997 and 2008
- In the UK, Scotland has the highest incidence of mouth cancer
- 1,822 people died from mouth cancer in 2008
- Over two-thirds of mouth cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage, reducing the chances of survival
- One person dies from mouth cancer every five hours in the UK (source: CRUK)
- Mouth cancer kills more people than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined
- 50 years ago mouth cancer was five times more common in men than in women; now it’s only twice as common
- The possibility of mouth cancer remains high for ex-smokers for 20 years or more after quitting
- Although mouth cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, an increasing number of young people are developing the condition
How your practice can help
Well over half the population received a dental examination in the last two years; this means your dental team is in the ideal position to share information about the risks and symptoms of mouth cancer. Few people are aware of the disease itself, let alone the symptoms. The more you can do to educate them, the better their chances.
Ways you can help:
- Creating an in-practice display using the campaign poster
- Offering free oral health screenings
- Issuing a press release to your local paper (using our template press release which can be downloaded and edited)
- Discussing lifestyle habits with your patients
- Encouraging smokers to quit
- Highlighting the symptoms
- Selling Blue Ribbon Badges
- Hosting your own fundraising event
- Checking for signs of the disease at each patient visit
As well as the free posters, you will also have received our Mouth Cancer Awareness Toolkit to provide guidance and suggestions on how to promote awareness among your patients and also to your local community via you local press. Further copies are available to download via your Online Account.
If you would like more posters or a Blue Ribbon Badge Appeal kit, please contact the BDHF on 01788 546365 or email email@example.com
For more information about the campaign, visit or link your practice website to http://www.mouthcancer.org Thank you in advance for your participation.
Together we can make a difference.