Bournemouth Councillor Urges Others To Attend Regular Check-Ups Following Mouth Cancer Diagnosis

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A councillor from Bournemouth is urging dental patients to visit their dentist for regular check-ups after he was diagnosed with mouth cancer.

Councillor Roger West is currently undergoing treatment after he was diagnosed with the disease following a routine dental check-up. Mr West said that he had absolutely no symptoms and was feeling fine when he went to his dentist for his usual dental check-up; however, after his dentist revealed a tender spot in the left jaw, Mr West was referred for tests at Poole Hospital and was later diagnosed with mouth cancer. At the time, the dentist suspected that it may be something stuck in one of the salivary glands, but ultrasound scans showed a different story.

Eventually, Mr West was referred to St Guys’ and Thomas’ Hospital in London and further tests and scans revealed that he had cancerous tissue in the mouth. In January, he underwent extensive surgery, lasting 13 hours, to remove part of the jaw and reconstruct the area using grafted bone and skin. He is now in recovery and has to be fed through a tube; he is still undergoing radiotherapy and his hearing has been affected by the procedure.

In light of his own experiences, Mr West is now urging others to see their dentist every 6 months as recommended and to be aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer. This form of cancer has become increasingly prevalent in the UK, yet many people are still unaware of the warning signs.

Mr West said that he was lucky, as his dentist, Dr Shane McCrea from Wootton Lodge Dental Practice, “has a social conscience” and treats NHS patients; however, he called for all dentists to be trained to spot mouth cancer signs, as many cannot afford to pay for private screening.

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