Oral Health Foundation calls for free dental care for oral cancer patients
The Oral Health Foundation has called for dental care to be provided free of charge for patients diagnosed with mouth cancer.
After receiving treatment for oral cancer, patients are often faced with long-term dental difficulties, which require complex and intensive treatment. Unlike other health services, dental care is not available free of charge on the NHS, and patients face significant costs. The Oral Health Foundation estimates that a patient diagnosed with oral cancer may pay up to £1,500 over a 5-year period. This is approximately five times the national average for dental spending.
The charity, which is currently running Mouth Cancer Action Month to raise awareness of oral cancer, has labelled the fees a “tax on cancer” and is urging the government to scrap dental fees for patients undergoing treatment.
Consultant and trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Chet Trivedy, explained that oral cancer patients can be faced with complex dental issues on top of the emotional and physical stress of battling cancer, and having to stump up for continued dental treatment can provide an additional source of stress. Patients often have symptoms such as dry mouth, tooth pain and tooth loss, and some require years of treatment.
Statistics show that mouth cancer is increasing in prevalence in the UK, with more than 8,300 new cases diagnosed last year. NHS dental charges have also risen year on year in England, with patients now required to pay fees between £21.60 and £256.60.Join this Discussion