Nicki Rowland, Practice Manager at Perfect 32 Dental Practice in Beverley, was invited to be a consultant for the Mouth Cancer Foundation in light of her work to raise public awareness of mouth cancer and the mouth cancer screening service offered at the practice.
She is working with the Mouth Cancer Foundation on a brand new UK initiative, the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme, which recognizes dental teams for their commitment to screening for early signs of oral cancer and raising public awareness of this hidden killer. Mouth cancer is now three times more prevalent than cervical cancer for which there is a government initiative and three people die every hour from it in the UK.
Delegates attending next week’s Dentistry Show at the NEC in Birmingham on March 2 are being asked to consider if they can spare two minutes which could ultimately save lives. They will learn how through the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme lives can be saved when Charity Consultant, Nicki Rowland, speaks at the Dentistry Show Nurses Forum.
The scheme will recognise dental practices that demonstrate a visible commitment to increasing public awareness of mouth cancer screening to all patients and to establish a documented referral pathway with a local specialist department.
The charity launches an in-depth pilot of the annual membership programme at the Dentistry Show ahead of the official launch at the BDA Conference on Saturday April 27. The pilot practices will road test all aspects of the initiative to ensure it runs smoothly. They will work through the accreditation process and act in a focus group capacity by feeding back on the scheme, its methods, quality and efficiency. On completion of the relevant criteria they will receive full accreditation when the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme launches.
Nicki Rowland said: “we piloted the programme last year at our practice in Beverley and it really works. It’s a very simple package and a case of standardising what needs to be done. There are lots of benefits to practices. As well as saving lives it is a practice builder. It encourages footfall and trust. How can we help people if they don’t go to the dentist? The scheme is as much about educating the public as it is about screening them.”
Awareness is integral to achieving early detection of head and neck cancers, thus saving lives. The Mouth Cancer Foundation will accredit dental practices that meet certain criteria and routinely participate in oral cancer screening. Full membership includes access to a dedicated section of the charity website and FREE 1 hour CPD element as well as professional development and training modules suitable for all members of the practice team to ensure regular screening benefits practice patients.
Dr Joshi adds…”the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helps dentists to know what they are looking for and how to check and refer patients. This will allow head and neck cancers to be caught earlier. Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late. Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required. With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs on the NHS will reduce dramatically.”
The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme aims to improve outcomes for head and neck cancers in accordance with The British Dental Association’s occasional paper for the early detection and prevention of oral cancer and NICE guidelines. It offers a realistic approach for dentists who seek to adopt best practice in oral cavity examination and opportunistic screening. The scheme embraces recent Care Quality Commission, Information Governance and Clinical Governance requirements and necessitates the recommendation by the General Dental Council for continuous professional development for the management of oral cancer for dentists.
The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme is open to any dentist registered with the GDC or any dental practice whose clinicians are registered with the GDC. Dentists who take part in the pilot scheme will receive associate accreditation when the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme launches. For more information or to take part in the pilot scheme please contact the Mouth Cancer Foundation via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1924 950 950 for more information.