Health Education and Improvement Wales launches new initiative to aid early oral cancer detection

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Health Education and Improvement Wales has launched a new initiative aimed at enabling dental teams to raise awareness of mouth cancer and identify early warning signs. 

Mouth cancer is the 11th most common type of cancer in the world, and in the UK, more than 8,000 people are affected every year. Rates of oral cancer have increased at an extraordinary pace in recent years, yet public awareness remains very low. The number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer has risen by almost 50% in the last decade, but the majority of people don’t know what kinds of symptoms to look out for. 

The lack of awareness of symptoms is contributing to many cases being diagnosed at a late stage, and dental professionals are aiming not only to raise awareness of mouth cancer symptoms, but also to encourage patients to attend regular check-ups. The new initiative, provides dentists, nurses and hygienists with a toolkit designed to facilitate early detection and make spotting potential warning signs easier. Survival rates have stalled at around 50%, despite the fact that there have been major advances in cancer care and amazing improvements in rates for other types of cancer, and this is largely due to patients seeking help at a late stage.

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