Charity encourages mouth cancer screenings

Screening for mouth cancer saves lives.

The British Dental Health Foundation is encouraging dentists and health professionals to organise more mouth cancer screenings during November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month following a successful initiative in the Republic of Ireland which found cancers in six people.

The initiative in Ireland offered free mouth cancer screenings as part of an awareness day run last year by Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Cork University Dental School and Hospital, the Irish Cancer Society and mouth, head and neck cancer survivors.

Of the 1,800 people who attended the Dublin open days, 29 suspicious lesions requiring biopsy were found as well as three early cancers and two established cancers. Of the 1,393 people who attended the Cork events, 49 pre-malignant lesions and one cancer were found. A further person, unable to remain in the queue on the day of the Dublin event, later attended his GP and was referred back to the Dublin Dental Hospital where a cancer was discovered.

Mouth Cancer Action Month is the UK’s equivalent of the Awareness Day in Ireland and is run by the British Dental Health Foundation each November, with the support of Denplan. Both campaigns seek to raise awareness of mouth cancer, its risk factors and symptoms. Smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet, smokeless tobacco and some sexually transmitted infections, including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are all known risk factors for mouth cancer, which is likely to affect 60,000 people in the UK over the next decade.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “Well over 3,000 people attended the screenings in Dublin and Cork which clearly illustrates the concern that many people have about the growing threat of mouth cancer.  The initiative in Ireland is supported by over 700 dentists and we hope that this commitment will be mirrored here in the UK.”


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