Mouth Cancer Foundation wins award for pioneering new scheme

The Mouth Cancer Foundation won the award for the ‘Best Dental Innovation’ at the Dental Hygiene and Therapy Awards. 

Charity consultants Elizabeth Laverack and Nicki Rowland accepted the award on behalf of the Mouth Cancer Foundation at the Barbican in central London on 24 January 2014.

Dental practices in the UK should be performing thorough mouth cancer checks on their patients. This quick, detailed examination takes just two minutes, yet very few patients are aware they should receive this at least once a year and it is suspected that some dental practices are still not doing it. The charity responded by setting up the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme.

The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme, which was only launched in 2013, calls for every dental practice in the UK to be carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer screen as part of regular check-ups. The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations in order to increase early detection rates and save lives. 

Full membership includes access to a dedicated section of the charity website and a free one hour Continuous Professional Development (CPD) element, as well as a wealth of professional development and training modules suitable for all members of the practice team, to ensure regular screening benefits practice patients.

The founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Dr Vinod Joshi says 'Winning such an award is a huge boost to the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme. Carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer examination at routine appointments will save lives. The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helps dentists and everyone working in a dental practice to know what they are looking for and how to check and refer patients. This will allow head and neck cancers to be caught earlier. Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late. Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required. With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs on the NHS will reduce dramatically.'

Mouth Cancer Foundation consultant Elizabeth Laverack said 'We are delighted, after working so hard to get the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme off the ground, to have received this recognition in such a short space of time. Mouth cancer is a hideous disease and early detection is vital. The more dental practices that work together on the scheme, the more lives will be saved. It is really that simple.' 

Co-consultant on the scheme, Nicki Rowland adds 'There are lots of benefits to practices. As well as saving lives it is a practice builder. It encourages footfall and trust. How can we help people if they don’t go to the dentist? The scheme is as much about educating the public as it is about screening them. The charity has proved that a thorough screening can be done quickly. Every dental practice should be doing it and that is what we are now working towards.'

The scheme is open to any dental practice whose clinicians are registered with the General Dental Council. For more information please contact the Mouth Cancer Foundation via [email protected] or call +44 (0) 1924 950 950 for more information.

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