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Dental Hygienists Promote Early Detection of Oral Cancer


February 3, 2015
by Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA)

As active supporters of World Cancer Day (February 4), Canada’s dental hygienists remind us that early detection is key to improving treatment outcomes for oral cancer.

World Cancer Day unites the global population in the fight against cancer, which claims 8.2 million lives worldwide every year.  This year’s campaign, under the theme “Not Beyond Us,” emphasizes the fact that there is hope: solutions exist and are within our reach.  “Canadians need to know that oral cancer is treatable if detected early,” explains Mandy Hayre, president of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). “Dental hygienists perform oral cancer screenings during regular dental hygiene visits and will refer you to a specialist if any irregularities are detected.”  Dental hygienists also advise clients on the hazards of tobacco use, a known risk factor for oral cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. 

Recognizing that early detection and screening have the potential to reduce the oral cancer burden in Canada, CDHA and its members have recently joined the Oral Cancer Foundation’s “Be Part of the Change” campaign.  This initiative encourages the dental hygiene community to take the lead in raising public awareness of oral cancer, its early signs and symptoms, and associated risk factors.  In so doing, dental hygienists are helping to meet the global challenge of saving lives and showing the world that “Cancer. It is not beyond us.”

Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 26,800 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 17,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the sixth largest registered health profession in Canada, with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health.

For more information on oral health, visit www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.