New oral cancer toolkit

AN online toolkit designed to help dentists and GPs spot the signs of oral cancer has been launched by Cancer Research UK.

The resource details how to identify and respond to possible cases of the disease, and also highlights risk factors. It includes a detailed image library, a referral guide, case studies, examination videos and a CPD quiz.

The launch coincides with new statistics from Cancer Research UK that show oral cancer is now the tenth most common cancer in men and fifteenth most common in women.

Around 7,300 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012, with twice as many men (4,900) as women (2,400).

The figures also show the incidence rate of the disease has increased by a third over 10 years, rising from nine per 100,000 people in 2002 to 12 per 100,000 in 2012. It claims the lives of 2,300 people in the UK every year.

Nearly all cases of oral cancer in the UK (90 per cent) are linked to lifestyle and other risk factors with the highest risks from smoking. Drinking alcohol, the human papilloma virus(HPV), and poor diet have also been linked to oral cancer.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Research UK’s lead GP, said the increasing number of cases was a “real concern”, especially as the majority are preventable.

He added: “It’s vital that people are aware of how to reduce their risk. If oral cancer is found at a late stage treatment options are more likely to be limited with long-lasting side effects and the chances of survival are poor.”

The toolkit, supported by the British Dental Association and approved by the Royal College of GPs, can be accessed here