A recent research study found 51% of the population of Wales wasn’t sure whether the dentist carried out a mouth cancer check-up during their last appointment.
The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation (HNCF) have founded a campaign ‘Get Mouthy About Cancer’ to tackle this issue.
The 60-second check can be conducted during a routine appointment and is already included in your dentist’s fee.
Michelle Vickers, CEO at HNCF says “We’ve introduced our Get Mouthy About Cancer campaign, because we all hear so often, and know how, to check our boobs or balls – but I bet the majority of people are unaware of what they’re looking for in their mouth!”
The campaign aims to push for early detection of mouth cancers, as they are typically extremely aggressive, disfiguring and life-limiting.
Worryingly, only half of Wales’ population attend the dentist every six months for a routine check-up.
When looking at a wider study of Britain, nearly ¾ of the population were unaware of the free cancer screening and whether they had had one.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the service to ensure dentists are carrying out a full check.
Michelle says, “Dentists are taught to do this as part of their standard oral check-up process. If people were screened they would know – as the tongue is held to either side of the mouth and the dentist is likely to follow the gums for signs of abnormal growth. We are asking everyone to ask their dentist for a routine screen the next time they visit – it’s really that simple.”
HNCF have also created a video for you to check yourself. Not only will this highlight whether your dentist is searching for you, but it will also help you notice the symptoms yourself.
Professor Mark McGurk, world-renowned surgeon and founder of HNCF added: “We want everyone to be having a conversation about mouth cancers. By bringing routine mouth checks front-of-mind and putting it on the agenda – we will raise awareness, raise the number of early detections and reduce the number of people facing stage two and three mouth cancers.”
Visit the charity’s new website at www.hncf.org.uk to find out more.