FGDP(UK) is encouraging members to support Mouth Cancer Action Month this November by raising awareness of mouth cancer among their patients and wider networks.
The incidence of oral cancer in the UK has risen by a third in the last decade to over 7,000 per annum - or 20 diagnoses a day - and numbers are expected to continue increasing. However if the disease is detected and treated early, survival rates over five years can almost double.
While dentists often have a critical role in detecting mouth cancers - checking for signs of oral cancer during the routine examination, and making referrals where they suspect a patient may have cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion - Mouth Cancer Action Month offers an opportunity to promote awareness of the symptoms among patients so that they can bring concerns to the attention of their dentist or doctor.
The annual campaign, organised by the Oral Health Foundation, is this year encouraging people to pledge to be ‘mouthaware’ via a social media Thunderclap, and is offering dentists a free poster and other resources to help them raise awareness and encourage self-checking by the public.
You can sign up to the Thunderclap at any time before 1 November 2017 - the first day of Mouth Cancer Action Month – when at midday, the following message will be posted from your social media accounts:
“I am supporting #mouthcanceraction by pledging to be Mouthaware. A quick check could save my life from mouth cancer”
The Faculty also suggests that oral health professionals and dental practices can help speed up diagnosis for suspected cancer by make suitable pre-prepared written information, such as the NHS’s patient information for urgent referrals, available for patients.
Further information on how the OHF Thunderclap works is available here. To claim a free poster, practices are required to contribute £1.09 postage.