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Dental staff urged to check for oral cancer

Dental practices around the UK have been urged to offer free mouth cancer checks to their patients ahead of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day, which will take place on September 18th.

The Mouth Cancer Foundation has called upon all oral health professionals to sign up to provide examinations for members of the public in order to check for the condition.

According to the body, dentists play a key role in the early detection of the illness, as well as prevention of the disease, by identifying patients who are exposed to risk factors, reports Dentistry.co.uk.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day is set to run alongside the Mouth Cancer Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme, which aims to respond to the 8,000 people diagnosed with the illness in the UK every year.

Symptoms of the illness include one or more mouth ulcers that do not heal after three weeks, swelling in the mouth, pain when swallowing, neck pain, a hoarse voice and red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue.

Campaigners have argued that extra vigilance needs to be adopted to diagnose the condition, especially because 25 per cent of cases are not associated with any known risk factor.

Dental professional Dr Philip Lewis said the screening scheme offers several benefits to practices as it encourages footfall and trust between patients and practitioners.

One way clinics could improve public awareness of the symptoms of mouth cancer is to use dental marketing in a bid to educate individuals about the risks involved, while advising them to seek help if they notice anything out of the ordinary.

Dr Vinod Joshi, founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, said: “Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late. Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required.”

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