Dentists urged to aid oral cancer fight

DENTISTS are being urged to probe their patients’ personal lives to help curb rising rates of oral cancer.

A leading cancer charity wants to see dentists take a more active role in fighting the disease, which is claiming increasing numbers of lives in the UK. This could mean asking patients about lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, drinking and sexual behaviour.

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Hazel Nunn, head of health evidence and information at Cancer Research UK, said: “If a dentist is looking at someone’s teeth and knows this person smokes 50 cigarettes a day and drinks well above the recommended amount, he might look that extra bit more carefully.”

Oral cancer affects the lips, tongue, cheek lining, gums, palate and floor of the mouth.