Police get free mouth cancer screenings as part of awareness drive

Members of staff at Thames Valley Police have received free mouth cancer screenings as part of Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Employees were invited to HQ Kidlington where specialists performed free mouth cancer screenings to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of the deadly disease, one of the few cancers in Britain with incidence increasing year-on-year.

With 91 per cent of all mouth cancer diagnoses linked to lifestyle, the team also advised on the risk factors which include alcohol, tobacco, diet and HPV (human papillomavirus).

Cases on the rise

The event was organised by Community Dental Services, an employee owned community interest company who deliver oral health promotion throughout the region on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council.

Charlotte Iddon, Oral Health Promotion Manager at Community Dental Services, said: “Mouth cancer is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases up by almost 40 per cent in the last decade.

“Holding these screenings is one of the initiatives that we are using to raise awareness of mouth cancer in the local community. We want to educate people on the signs, symptoms and risk factors, along with the role your dentist can play in helping to catch the disease early enough to beat it.”

7,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, while the disease claimed more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.

"Keeping people mindful"

Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Mouth cancer does not have the same public awareness as other cancers yet shockingly claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.

“Community Dental Services initiatives, including these screenings, are raising awareness of mouth cancer across Oxfordshire, keeping people mindful of early symptoms to give themselves the best possible chance to be treated early and successfully.”

Alongside staff from Community Dental Services, the screenings were conducted by Dr Anushika Brogan and team from Damira Dental Studio.

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Organised by the Oral Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month is aiming to reduce the number of lives lost to mouth cancer by ensuring we are all aware of the symptoms and causes of the disease.

Dr Nigel Harris OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “We are thankful for the support of Community Dental Services. Mouth Cancer Action Month relies on the support of the dental industry and with their support we will save lives.

“I would advise anyone offered the opportunity for a screening to take it. Survival rates for mouth cancer have not improved in the last 20 years and examination initiatives like this can make a real difference.”

To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org