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Covid Backlog Puts Mouth Cancer Patients in Danger

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Shared from GDPUK

The dangers of missed dental appointments due to the pandemic backlog, have hit the news headlines over the last few weeks. With November being Mouth Cancer Month this has been pulled into sharper focus, with the risks of missed dental appointments, meaning missed early diagnosis and survival rates.

Since the first dental shutdown in March 2020, dental professionals and representative organisations have warned of the dangers inherent in missed dental examinations and oral health screenings.

Ahead of the Government’s recent Budget and Spending Review, the British Dental Association and Healthwatch England wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling on him to “Guarantee the future of NHS dentistry.” The two organisations used the open letter to highlight the impact on dental care that a decade of cuts and COVID-19 have had on NHS dentistry.

So far it’s not clear whether any of the £5.9 billion planned to be given to NHS England to clear the backlog of treatments brought on by COVID will be earmarked for dentistry.

“Without check-ups, mouth cancers, which kill more people than car accidents, are going undetected until it is too late.”

The Mouth Cancer Foundation says that over 8,300 new cases in the UK each year and that one person every three HOURS is lost to mouth cancer. BDA News said the number of new cases of mouth cancer per annum, is an increase of 58% compared to ten years ago.

“Worldwide, mouth cancer affects 650,000 per year,” says the MCF, and “Cancer is TWICE as common in men than women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease.”

The “5 year SURVIVAL rate has hardly improved in last few decades due to late detection” and “25% of mouth cancer cases have no associated significant risk factors.”

The importance of regular dental examinations was highlighted by the Oral Cancer Foundation, which says on its website “Often oral cancer is only discovered when cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck.”

Nicki Rowland wrote on the Oral Health Foundation website “So, why are we seeing an escalating trend in mouth cancer? Well, the problem is that it is not being detected early enough. Early detection is key to saving lives.”

“Early detection is the key to improved survival rates for those contracting oral cancers, and we are concerned that mouth cancer referrals have fallen by 60% since the first UK lockdown in March 2020. This could lead to a potentially devastating rise in mortality.”

Details on the Mouth Cancer Action Month can be found here.

If you are concerned about the risks of late or restricted of access to dental care poses for your employees, have you considered a company dental insurance plan? We offer a choice of corporate dental insurance plans with a wide range of different conditions covered. Some of which have mouth cancer cover. Take the worry out of looking after your employees oral health with Get Dental Plans and contact us today.


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