Our colleague, Chris Curtis, from the Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Support Group is currently mid-way through a trip...
What to do
Preparing For Mouth Cancer Awareness Day
Below are some helpful tips to ensure that Mouth Cancer Awareness Day runs smoothly.
Before Mouth Cancer Awareness Day
- Ensure that your surgery has registered for Mouth Cancer Awareness Day by signing up here.
- Download and display the Mouth Cancer Awareness Day Poster.
- Identify the most appropriate referral pathway for your area.
- Be familiar with the Mouth Cancer Screening Protocol.
- Print off the Mouth Cancer Awareness Day Screening Form and Mouth Map. Ensure that you have enough forms to meet demand.
- Assign specific roles to each staff member in advance of the day.
- Display any supplementary educational materials such as mouth head and neck cancer leaflets, HPV leaflets and Smoking cessation information. Further materials can be downloaded at http://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/get-info/merchandise or contact us to request hard copies.
- Review the educational materials to ensure that you and your staff feel comfortable answering any questions patients may ask.
The following short clip illustrates the supplies needed for a thorough mouth cancer screening.
- Digital cameras to photograph suspicious lesions.
- Disposable dental mirrors.
- Wooden tongue blades/spatulas.
- Alcohol wipes and cross infection barriers.
- 4cm x 4cm gauze pads.
- Clipboards/lots of cheap biros.
- Folder for completed forms.
- Information brochures on mouth cancer.
On Mouth Cancer Awareness Day
- Register all patients by completing the Mouth Cancer Awareness Day Screening Form. Patients may need assistance in completing the questionnaire. Once complete, the patient hands the form to the dentist to complete the clinical examination.
- Carry out the Mouth Cancer Screening and ensure that the form is fully completed in all cases. Completion of the mouth map is only necessary for patients who are being referred.
- Give educational materials to the patients where appropriate.
Post Mouth Cancer Screening
Discharge the patient.
What is an urgent referral?
It is imperative that we identify patients with high-risk lesions that are potentially cancerous, so that these can be investigated urgently, as opposed to those whose investigation is less urgent.
An oral finding deemed URGENT would be:
- a mass, especially if the swelling is indurated (hard) on palpation compared to the surrounding tissues;
- a persistent ulcer (present for more than three weeks and not healing), especially if indurated on palpation compared to the surrounding tissues; or,
- a 'speckled' red and white lesion, especially if the surface is irregular and indurated on palpation compared to the surrounding tissues.
Homogeneous leukoplakias, soft red and white lesions exhibiting striations (lichenoid lesions) and frictional keratoses on the edentulous alveolar mucosa, would be considered low-risk lesions and can be referred in the normal manner. If you can see a possible cause for the lesion, (e.g., a sharp tooth, or an ill-fitting denture) please attend to this first, and review after a week or two, before referring.
If the patient needs an URGENT referral contact the on call Senior House Officer at established referral hospital or specialist unit.
Please ensure that the mouth map is attached to the completed examination form and is fully complete for all referrals. Please give the patient a copy of your completed examination form to bring to their appointment. Please ensure for all referrals that the original copy of the Mouth Cancer Examination Form and Mouth Map are kept at the practice and that copies are forwarded to the relevant specialist/hospital.
Where a lesion requires further investigation, please use the agreed referral pathway for the local PCT/Cluster. Again, please ensure that the Mouth Map is attached to the Mouth Cancer Awareness Day Examination Form. It may be useful to take a photo of the lesion for email referral purposes. Please place these referrals in an envelope clearly marked Mouth Cancer Awareness Day when posting. Please ensure for all referrals that the original copy of the Mouth Cancer Examination Form and Mouth Map are kept at the practice and that copies are forwarded to the relevant specialist/hospital.
At the end of the day, please ensure that the Participant Feedback Form is completed. This is a summary of all the examinations carried out on the day. Your feedback is vitally important.
Please return the completed form to Izabela Nair at the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Top Floor, 1 Victoria Parade, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3HJ or online to Izabela@mediaambitions.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALL Mouth Cancer Examination Forms should be kept in a dedicated folder and stored securely as confidential materials as they may be required for research purposes later.