Check Your Mouth: The Early Self Discovery Campaign for Oral Cancer
The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has launched a new nationwide campaign aimed at the early self discovery of oral cancers. The Check Your Mouth Campaign is an interactive website designed to help individuals learn to self-discover suspicious tissue changes in their own mouths.
“Early discovery of oral cancers has profound implications. Individuals whose disease is found at early stages of development through opportunistic screenings have less invasive treatments, reducing treatment related morbidity, and there is also the opportunity for better long-term outcomes.”
-Dr. Ross Kerr, Oral Medicine Specialist at NYU
The new website, www.checkyourmouth.org, provides the knowledge and tools needed to recognize and find early symptoms of disease. The process is a very simple visual and tactile process. A person who finds suspect areas in their mouths that persists for over two weeks is then prompted to seek further evaluation from a dental professional.
With a step-by-step video, a very effective and inexpensive intra-oral light from Throat Scope, and examples of abnormalities to look for, this interactive campaign’s objective is to reduce late stage discovery of oral cancer. Throat Scope is available here.
About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is incredibly deadly, killing one person in America every hour of every day, all year. In 2018, the foundation predicts there will be approximately 51,550 individuals diagnosed with an oral or oropharyngeal cancer.
Of those newly diagnosed today, only about 60% will be alive in 5 years.
The high fatality rate is largely due to late discovery of the disease.
To compound the problem, a national screening policy is not in place, and many individuals are not even aware that oral cancer is a significant and increasing common issue in the U.S.
“Reaching the general public with a message can be an expensive idea for a small nonprofit like OCF. Our partner organizations and the members they represent have been long-time leaders of performing oral cancer screenings as a part of the services they provide to patients. These organizations have been champions of routine visual and tactile screenings, and through ongoing advocacy efforts have made them part of the routine screenings dental hygienists perform.”
-Brian Hill, Executive Director of OCF, who is also a survivor of a late stage oral cancer
To help meet that challenge, the Oral Cancer Foundation has engaged two key strategic partners, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). The combined membership of these partners exceeds 200,000 dental hygienists in the U.S. and Canada.
Now the foundation looks to these long-term partners in screening to introduce their patient populations to the idea of self-exams at home between professional appointments. The foundations should also expose their patient population to the Check Your Mouth concept and website.
How Can Early Self Discovery Benefit You?
Self-examination has become a major part of the general cancer conversation. Other cancer organizations have created campaigns to encourage people to discover abnormalities early. Notable examples are a program to discover deadly melanoma skin cancers early, and self-exams through breast palpation for breast cancers. Check Your Mouth hopes to do the same with their early self discovery campaign.
With the measurable impact of early discovery in other forms of cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation has moved forward with a similar objective. Oral cancers and their premalignant tissue changes are often easily visible with the naked eye. The model is not so different, with a learning curve that is short and simple to become effective, and an examination process that can be accomplished in about 5 minutes.
The OCF educates and encourages the public to learn the common risk factors mostly found in lifestyle choices such as smoking for oral cancer and avoid them. However, they cannot stop oral cancer from happening.
Clearly, finding the cancer early is the next best idea. Check Your Mouth makes early self discovery easy.
Check Your Mouth is a campaign with the objective of producing better long-term outcomes, which is a very tangible opportunity we can capitalize on today.
Read the original blog by the Oral Cancer Foundation HERE.