World Cancer Day (February 4) is a perfect time for dental hygienists across Canada to remind the public of the importance of regular oral cancer screenings, not only during dental appointments, but also now at home.
The Canadian Cancer Society projected in 2017 that 4,700 Canadians would be diagnosed with oral cavity cancer, and that 1,250 Canadians would die. In hopes of improving the long-term outcomes for people diagnosed with oral cancer, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) has partnered with the Oral Cancer Foundation and the American Dental Hygienists Association on a “Check Your Mouth™” initiative to help individuals identify the early signs and symptoms of oral cavity cancers. “Dental hygienists recognize that early detection has great potential to reduce the oral cancer burden in Canada,” states Sophia Baltzis, CDHA president. “Between dental visits, which usually include an oral cancer screening, our clients can and should examine their mouths for suspicious tissue changes.”
The Check Your Mouth™ campaign features an interactive website (www.checkyourmouth.org) that offers easy-to-use tools and tips for a quick visual and tactile examination of the oral cavity. Individuals can learn to self-discover the early symptoms of disease and then seek further evaluation from a dental professional if necessary. “Dental hygienists are your partners in prevention,” adds Baltzis. “We encourage all Canadians to maintain a healthy lifestyle, practice good oral hygiene habits, and spot the early signs of oral cancer. The Check Your Mouth™ website is a valuable resource that everyone should explore.” By raising public awareness of oral cancer and its early signs and symptoms, dental hygienists are helping to meet the global challenge of saving lives. Together, we can make a difference!
Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 28,495 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 19,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the 6th largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit: www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.