Make a Difference

Cancer remains one of the most debilitating and disfiguring of all malignancies. It presents the whole dental team with important obligations, challenges and a real opportunity to save lives as daily oral cancer deaths in India are currently increasing due to rise in tobacco use ( smoking, bidi, gutka, quid, snuff or misri).

Dentists have an important role in detecting (screening) and referring patients for oral cancer because other health professionals do not check this area. Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer or abnormal tissue at an early stage. The earlier, the lesions are found the greater the chance of recovery, treatment, quality of life and function. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. A major problem is that more than half of all oral cancer cases have already metastasized to regional or distant structures at the time of detection which decreases the 5 year survival period.

In the face of the oral cancer challenge, dental professionals have a unique opportunity. First to identity risky lifestyle, next give advice about smoking cessation, reduce alcohol and nutrition. The patient is expecting to talk about health with the dentist --- so all that is needed is to broaden the topic and include primary protection. This means changing habits and lifestyles.

Why get OCF training?

OCF training provides resources to help dentists incorporate a comprehensive cancer screening programme in practice. You must instruct patients on oral self- examination techniques. Review your practice procedures for a proactive role in oral cancer incidence by incorportaing the following:

  • medical history-taking
  • lifestyle counselling
  • undertaking a clinical examination
  • recording examination findings
  • making specialist referrals

OCF also operates a public awareness campaign to educate the public about factors which cause oral cancer and instilling the need for a yearly screening. Periodontal monitoring is now accepted as part of the routine dental examination.

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