Dentists drive to combat mouth cancer

SUFFOLK dentists are spearheading a drive to raise awareness of mouth cancer this week – a killer disease which claims 1,700 lives a year.The campaign is part of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week this week, where dentists will highlight the importance of regular dental examinations for early detection.

SUFFOLK dentists are spearheading a drive to raise awareness of mouth cancer this week – a killer disease which claims 1,700 lives a year.

The campaign is part of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week this week, where dentists will highlight the importance of regular dental examinations for early detection.

Dr Kelvin Douglas of the Bridge House Dental Practice in Ipswich is taking part in the campaign.

He said: "People must be aware of mouth cancer.


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"It is a terrible disease and too few people know about it and the importance of regular dental examinations.

"Dentists are specifically trained to pick up the warning signs of mouth cancer and so missing an appointment could cost a patient more than a filling."

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The mortality rate of mouth cancer is higher than both breast and cervical cancer at 49 percent, but this figure drops to 18 percent with early diagnosis.

Even those who survive the disease are at risk of radical facial surgery to ensure the cancer is removed.

Dr Roger Matthews, Denplan chief dental officer, said: "Mouth cancer can affect anyone but people most at risk are those aged over 40 years and people who drink and smoke regularly.

"The best way to avoid putting yourself at risk from mouth cancer is to cut down on alcohol intake and smoking.

"But it is your dentist who provides you with the best chance of survival because they can detect the signs during a regular examination."

Denplan is the UK's largest private dental provider supporting over one third of dentists and 1.2 million patients.

Denplan's Watch Your Mouth national awareness campaign has been launched in partnership with the British Dental Health Foundation.

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