Every year, the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) holds Mouth Cancer Action Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness of the causes, symptoms and seriousness of oral cancer. Practices across the UK will have been integrating this promotion into their dental marketing material, but what will they do now the month is over?
According to the BDHF, they should keep taking action to prevent oral cancer. This may seem obvious, but many people forget about the disease once Mouth Cancer Action Month is over. This is a mistake, as it is obviously a threat all year round.
The BDHF hopes the general public and healthcare professionals continue to be ‘mouthaware’. The campaign has been a huge success, with people taking ‘Blue Lip Selfies’ to raise awareness and hundreds of thousands of oral healthcare professionals helping to educate people about mouth cancer.
However, that does not mean oral cancer can now safely be forgotten about. Dentists everywhere should still be making sure their patients are aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, and what to do if any are discovered.
Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth are all potential signs of the disease. Concerned patients can visit either their GP or their dentist to have these checked.
Dr Nigel Carter, the BDHF’s chief executive, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in this year’s campaign. Mouth cancer rates increased yet again, and we are approaching statistics that make for very grim reading. More than 2,000 people now lose their lives to this silent killer, more than cervical and testicular cancer fatalities combined.”
These unfortunate statistics show the need to be constantly vigilant about the threat that oral cancer poses. The UK public is largely unaware of the disease, or how prevalent it is, so more work is needed to raise awareness all year round.