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The British Dental Association responds to soaring oral cancer rates

The British Dental Association (BDA) has commented on new evidence from Cancer Research UK showing that rates of mouth (oral) cancer have jumped by 68% in the UK over the last 20 years. [1]

Dentists play a vital role in detection of oral cancers. Survival rates can rise from 50% to 90% if the condition is identified early. However recent data has shown half of adults in England have not seen an NHS dentist in two years.

The BDA has collaborated with Cancer Research on development of an oral cancer toolkit to help health practitioners spot the disease and refer suspected cases sooner.

The BDA supports blanket immunisation against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers.

Russ Ladwa, Chair of the Health and Science Committee at the BDA said, “Oral cancer is on the rise, yet half of adults are not seeing a dentist. Early detection is key, and a check-up can mean the difference between a 90% and 50% survival rate.

“When survival rates for many cancers are improving it’s high time Ministers delivered a strategy and effective messages so the public really understand the risks.”

[1] Source: Cancer Research UK. Based on oral cancer incidence rates for all ages, persons, from eight cases per 100,000 people between 1993-1995 to 13 cases per 100,000 people between 2012-2014.