New research reveals 97% of dentists are providing fewer oral cancer checks
New research has revealed that 97% of dental professionals are currently carrying out fewer oral cancer checks.
Data from the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) shows that almost all UK dentists are performing fewer oral cancer screening checks than before the lockdown. More than 55% of those surveyed also admitted that the additional PPE requirements are making it more difficult to offer screening checks.
The survey also suggested that half of dentists are seeing a maximum of 10 patients per day, with more than 45% unable to increase capacity as a result of restricted access to PPE.
Oral cancer is a form of cancer that has become more prevalent in the UK in the last decade, but most people are still unaware of the signs and symptoms. Dentists are in an excellent position to spot potential warning signs early, as oral cancer screening is included in routine check-ups as standard. With practices offering limited services, and patients not able to book check-ups, dentists are concerned that many cases of cancer will be missed in the coming weeks. There is also a worry that patients who do have abnormal symptoms may be reluctant to get them checked out as a result of fears associated with contracting Coronavirus.
Early diagnosis of mouth cancer can increase the chances of survival by up to 90 percent, and this is why dentists are so keen to get routine services back to normal as quickly as possible. One measure that is posing a problem, according to the BAPD, is the fallow period between patients. At present, dental practices are limiting appointment numbers to allow time to clean between patients, but the BAPD believes that the guidelines are unnecessary. In an open letter to Public Health England, representatives have called for policies to be reviewed urgently.Join this Discussion