Soaring mouth cancer rates highlight need for greater dentists' awareness

September 26, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Rising rates of mouth cancer mean that it's more important than ever that dentists and members of the dental team can promote prevention, detect warning signs and refer patients appropriately.

This is the message from leading published in the British Dental Journal.

Earlier this year Cancer Research UK, the British Society for Oral Medicine and the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry lobbied Britain's General Dental Council (GDC) to commit to adding " - Improving Early Detection & Promoting " as a compulsory subject for dentists' ongoing training.

In May the Council added "Oral Cancer Detection" as a recommended subject for Continuing Professional Development alongside legal and ethical issues and complaints handling.

This is a significant step in the right direction.

But Cancer Research UK, the British Society for Oral Medicine and the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry would like to see improving oral cancer detection pushed higher on the priority list for professional development of the dental team. They are also calling for prevention of the disease - not just detection - to be included.

This would help improve dentists' understanding of the risks and causes of the disease and how to address these.

By 2030 it is predicted there will be 9,200 cases of oral cancer in the UK every year compared to 6,240 in 2009 and 3,030 in 1984. Rates continue to rise in both men and women and in all age groups including the under 50s with more young people developing oral cancer than ever before.

Dr Alan Mighell, President of the British Society for Oral Medicine, said: "Oral cancer is one of the most serious conditions that the dental team can come across. As rates continue to rise, dental teams can expect to see more and more cases. They must be adequately equipped to promote prevention, recognise suspicious lesions and refer patients appropriately."

Hazel Nunn, Cancer Research UK's head of health evidence and information, said: "We're really pleased to see more commitment to training on oral cancer detection for the dental team. But we would like the recommendations to go further - for oral and prevention to be amongst the top priorities for dentists' professional development.

"Too often oral cancer is found at a late stage when treatment is devastating and the chances of survival are poor. Dental teams are in a unique position to help detect oral cancer in its earlier stages when it's easier to treat and the outlook is greatly improved."

Explore further: Dentists play key role in detecting oral cancer

More information: Mighell, A. Gallagher, J. (2012). Oral cancer – improving early detection and promoting prevention. Are you up to date? British Dental Journal DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.838

Related Stories

Dentists play key role in detecting oral cancer

April 7, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Not only do regular dental exams help keep your teeth and gums healthy, they can help detect oral cancer, the Academy of General Dentistry says.

Metformin may lower risk for oral cancer development

April 2, 2012
New findings published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that metformin may protect against oral cancer.

Saliva test could dramatically increase detection of oral cancer

April 17, 2012
A Michigan State University surgeon is teaming up with a Lansing-area dental benefits firm on a clinical trial to create a simple, cost-effective saliva test to detect oral cancer, a breakthrough that would drastically improve ...

Recommended for you

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

Popular immunotherapy target turns out to have a surprising buddy

August 16, 2017
The majority of current cancer immunotherapies focus on PD-L1. This well studied protein turns out to be controlled by a partner, CMTM6, a previously unexplored molecule that is now suddenly also a potential therapeutic target. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.