UAE dentists are pushing for increased public awareness and patient screening in order to detect oral cancer early, which is crucial for survival.
Cancer research UK estimates that over 400,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer yearly with twice as many men as women suffering from the disease. Research further indicates that more than 127,000 people world-wide die of oral cancer every year.
Locally, the University of Sharjah’s College of Dentistry 2013 study indicated that only five per cent of respondents had ever been screened for oral cancer. More than one third of these Emirati and expatriate respondents admitted they were not aware of oral cancer and only 21.6 per cent had ever heard of oral cancer screening.
“Early diagnosis is the key to surviving oral cancer,” says Dr David Roze, founder and General Manager of Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic in Dubai. Studies have shown that detecting oral cancer in the very early stages can increase a patient’s survival rate by as much as 90 per cent which is extremely significant.
“It is disturbing to me as an Oral Health care professional to see the death rate due to oral cancer remaining so high, especially when this rate is only due to the late discovery the disease. These statistics need to be addressed and the public made more aware of the symptoms and screening options.”
The causes of oral cancer have been linked to smoking, drinking alcohol, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and a very poor diet.
Key warning signs of the disease include oral conditions such as: an ulcer that remains for over 3 weeks; red or white patches; pain or lumps on gums, cheeks or tongue; tenderness or numbness on mouth or lips; or difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
“If in doubt – get checked out”, stresses Dr. Roze. “Visit your doctor or dentist if you have any of these symptoms or other oral health issues.”
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IHC for Dr. Roze & Associates (DRA) Dubai
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