In answer to a recent parliamentary question, the Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Jo Churchill, announced that there are no plans to promote dentists’ involvement in the fight against this disease. Instead, it will be left to already over-worked general medical practitioners who generally, despite their best efforts, have less experience in this field.
Mouth cancer costs the lives of nearly 3,000 UK citizens every year. Many of these people are the victims of late diagnosis.
All dentists are trained in the early detection of this disease and examine patients for early signs at each check-up appointment. These examinations lead to early referrals to specialist services, improving patient care and maximizing the chances of a successful outcome.
President of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Philip Lewis says, "The Mouth Cancer Foundation is dismayed at the attitude of the Government concerning this issue. It is obvious that dentists in general practice are the best placed health professionals to recognise this disease in its earliest stages, when treatment is likely to be most successful. I hope the Government re-considers its position and resolves to put the necessary resources in the direction of those who are most likely to be instrumental in saving lives."