12 October 2018

The Oral Health Foundation is launching this year’s Mouth Cancer Action Month by calling on dental and health professionals to raise awareness of mouth cancer and communicate the importance of early detection.

During November, the charity is looking for your help to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by educating the public on the risk factors, signs and symptoms associated with the disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, explains why your support is needed: “Mouth cancer is one of the few cancers which continues to see the number of cases increase. The number of people being diagnosed with the disease has grown by more than a third over the last decade.

“Being on the frontline in the fight against mouth cancer, your support and participation for campaigns like Mouth Cancer Action Month are crucial.

“The chances are that we all know at least one person who has been diagnosed with cancer and recognise the hurt and pain it can cause both physically and emotionally.

“Mouth cancer has a devastating effect on a person’s life. It impacts areas many of us take for granted, such as our ability to eat, drink or even speak. It also takes a huge psychological and emotional impact by causing problems in communication, low self-esteem, social isolation and affects the family and friends of sufferers.”

Survival rates for those with mouth cancer have not improved in the last 30 years. 

The disease takes more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.

Dr Carter adds: “By being ‘Mouthaware’ and spotting mouth cancer early enough, we can give patients the best possible chance to beat mouth cancer and have a good quality of life.”

Like many cancers, early detection makes a vital difference to survival. By spotting mouth cancer in the early stages, the chance of beating the disease increases from 50% to 90%.

Simplyhealth Professionals are returning as lead sponsor of Mouth Cancer Action Month 2018 and their Chief Dental Officer, Dr Henry Clover, says: “Sadly, long gone are the days when dental professionals might see one or two cases of mouth cancer during their career.

“Cases of mouth cancer are rapidly rising and dental teams play a pivotal role in raising awareness of the disease and helping patients to understand the risks and signs.

“Providing mouth cancer checks at routine appointments helps to identify early signs of the disease and gives patients the best chance of successful treatment and survival.

“It also provides you with the ideal opportunity to talk to patients about mouth cancer and to discuss lifestyle choices linked with the disease such as smoking and alcohol, as well as to encourage self-examination at home.”

This year, the charity is expecting thousands of oral health teams across the country to help improve education on mouth cancer and support the campaign.

The Mouth Cancer Action Month website, www.mouthcancer.org, contains lots of ideas on how you can take part in the campaign.  

Dr Carter says: “The good news is that you are in the perfect position to do something that can make a real difference for mouth cancer awareness in the UK. By going online and pledging your support, you can find out how your work can help your patients and 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. The income protection organisation want to continue to support the campaign message ‘if in doubt get checked out!’

Sarah Bradbury, Head of Marketing and Communications at Dentists’ Provident, adds: “We’re delighted to be supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month for the sixth year. Not only is the campaign invaluable by increasing awareness of head and neck cancers among the general public but in educating the dental team as well.

“We are actively supporting this campaign by communicating the important message of timely identification of symptoms with dental professionals, reminding them that they aren’t immune from oral and other cancers themselves.”                   

To find out how you can get involved in Mouth Cancer Action Month 2018, please visit www.mouthcancer.org for inspiration on what you can do to spread awareness.