“Are you checking your mouth for cancer once a month? Carry out this pioneering self-check from the Mouth Cancer Foundation on a regular basis and safeguard your future health.” – GP & TV Doctor, Dr. Dawn Harper
The Mouth Cancer Foundation has launched Bite Back at Mouth Cancer, a simple head and neck cancer check that can be carried out by anyone at home, at any time, ideally once a month.
There are easy-to-do self-check tests for a variety of other cancers but there is nothing similar for mouth, head or neck cancer. Bite Back at Mouth Cancer shows members of the public what to look for and how to seek help if they find something out of the ordinary. They will become familiar with the signs and symptoms to look out for and learn to act sooner.
GP and TV doctor, Dr. Dawn Harper is backing the initiative and has taken part in a video to clearly show how to carry out the examination. She says, “It is recommended that the self-check is done once a month after teeth have been cleaned and by everyone over the age of 16 years. It takes less than two minutes. To carry out the mouth test all you need is a mirror, good light source and clean fingers – it is that simple. Each step requires the doer to inspect and feel for any lumps, red or white patches, changes in colour or texture, lingering ulcers or anything unusual.”
The Bite Back at Mouth Cancer self-examination has been devised by Mouth Cancer Foundation Ambassadors – consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon Mahesh Kumar and dentist Philip Lewis.
Dr. Lewis said, “Take note of anything unusual. If you have recently had a cold, sore throat, ulcer or swollen glands, bitten or scalded yourself for example, these should heal within three weeks. If you have any concerns, visit your dentist or doctor to see if you need specialist advice.”
Dr. Kumar added, “Mouth cancer is becoming a major health care concern so it is important to catch it early. Bite Back at Mouth Cancer will play a key role in the early detection of mouth cancer. As mouth cancer is on the increase around the world, we urge everyone to take responsibility for their own oral health. Early diagnosis is imperative in order to save lives. Dentists can also advise patients how to screen and effectively examine their own mouths.”
Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late. Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post-operative and the psychological care required. With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs will reduce dramatically.