Dentists and their teams are encouraged to read the information below, and support Mouth Cancer Action Month during November, by raising awareness amongst patients, ensuring the early detection of oral cancers, and enabling better clinical outcomes for patients.
Read our report: 'Oral cancer - A plan for action', which highlights some of the key trends in Scotland and sets our recommendations to key stakeholders.
What's the problem?
Scotland has seen an increase in the incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in the last 30 years and head and neck cancer incidence rates are significantly higher in Scotland than the UK average.
The risk factors for developing oral and oropharyngeal cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, as well as increasing age, and gender.
HPV is strongly linked to the recent increase in oropharyngeal cancers. These cancers are distributed unevenly among the population with the greatest number in the most deprived areas.
Treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancer involves surgical resection and reconstruction in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
What can dentists do?
Dentists and dental care professionals can play a leading role in reducing the impact of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in Scotland several ways:
- Screening for oral and oropharyngeal cancer during routine oral examinations of registered patients. This may lead to a discussion on risk factor with patients.
- Providing rapid access to an oral examination for patients who have suspected lesions found by general medical practitioners (GMPs) and pharmacists of non-registered patients by local agreement.
- Referring suspected lesions to the local OMFS unit, or equivalent, for investigation.
- Raising public awareness of oral and oropharyngeal cancer by taking part in the OHF's Mouth Cancer Action Month.
Useful oral cancer resources for dentists and DCPs
We encourage you to use, and share these resources with your colleagues and dental teams:
Support Mouth Cancer Action Month during November
We encourage all dentists to support Mouth Cancer Action Month in November 2018, and to work in partnership with local GMPs and pharmacists, to help non-registered patients get access to an oral examination, which includes the oropharynx and neck.
We would encourage you to familiarise yourself with local pathways to refer suspected lesions to OMFS departments or equivalent in your area.
What is the BDA doing?
BDA Scotland's Oral Cancer Working Group aims to raise awareness among dentists, doctors and pharmacists of the increasing incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.
We are also raising the profile of these cancers with the Scottish Government, and we are holding a "Stand Up to Oral Cancer" event (sponsored by Anas Sarwar, MSP) at the Scottish Parliament on 13 November 2018, inviting key stakeholders.
The Working Group has developed an oral cancer referral pathway for clinicians and other professionals, and is drafting an Oral Cancer Action Plan which will include recommendations for the Scottish Government and NHS Boards.
Have you detected a case of oral cancer?
We'd love to hear what you are doing to help raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month, and we are particularly keen on hearing about any stories of cases of oral cancer you have detected.
Please email and let us know if you have detected a case, or let us know what you've been doing for Mouth Cancer Action Month.