Screening program aims to raise awareness of oral cancer

5 June 2018

As part of its activities for World Head and Neck Cancer Day on 27 July this year, the Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) is partnering with Throat Scope® and the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia to coordinate free oral cancer screening clinics in select Amcal pharmacies throughout Victoria. 

Aimed at helping Australians to avoid the effects of oral cancer, the 10-15 minute oral health screening checks will be undertaken by registered dental health professionals in pharmacies in Robinvale, Glen Iris, Kyneton, Bayswater and Beaconsfield in two-hour blocks.

The ADHF is seeking volunteers, particularly local dentists, to donate their time in one or more two-hour blocks to conduct these valuable tests (all equipment will be provided free of charge), the importance of which has been emphasised by Dr Michael Foley, Vice Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee:

 “When Australians think of cancer it does not immediately come to mind that cancer can occur in the mouth. However, certain habits can increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer – such as tobacco and alcohol which increases that risk by more than 80%. Heavy tobacco and alcohol consumers increase their risk by 38 times compared to those who do not consume these products. Oral cancer can also be caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) obtained from unprotected oral sex. If picked up early, oral cancer can be addressed relatively well – an 85% 5-year survival rate. However, the sad reality is that oral cancer is typically detected when advanced, where the 5-year survival rate can be as low as 9%."

The critical role played by volunteer dentists in delivering these tests has been stressed by David Owen, Chairman of the ADH:

“This is the second year the Foundation has been involved in this Oral screening program. Volunteers who participated last year found their involvement to be enjoyable, enabling them to meet with fellow community members in their area and providing these worthwhile checks.”

People agreeing to undergo a screening will be asked to sign a comprehensive waiver, and if any abnormality or potential abnormality is detected, they will be referred for further dental or medical attention. 

If you would like to be involved with this valuable program, please contact Robert Boyd-Boland on 02-8881 5333 or [email protected]