Dundee professor advises alcohol interventions
Advice on mouth cancer warning signs and providing information on alcohol intake could save patients lives
As Mouth Cancer Action Month continues, oral cancer expert Professor Graham Ogden is advising dental professionals to be on the lookout for warning signs as well as advising moderation in alcohol intake.
Graham, who is a professor of oral surgery at the University of Dundee, explained that it is important to screen the whole mouth and take care when recording findings. He said: “The main message is to remember to screen the entire mucosa, both intra-orally and extra-orally and to record negatives so that if anybody disputes or questions whether you have missed a cancer, then you can show that you have screened the mucosa.
“Looking for warning signs, colour especially, is really still the most important thing do – red/white lesions or red lesions in particular, and those that have been there for two to three weeks without showing any signs of improvement such as a swelling or an ulcer.”
Graham, who is also the new dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG), explained that providing advice on alcohol is an area that dentists could have a big impact. He said: “The two main risk factors are still very much tobacco and alcohol. We’ve talked a lot about smoking cessation but perhaps the role of the GDP in advising moderation in alcohol intake is something we still need to develop. Maybe some people find it a little uncomfortable, maybe some people who don’t actually take alcohol see it as not being their role and that they don’t have enough knowledge about it. But it is a legitimate area to question and then provide the information to the patient. They can then make up their own minds.”
To read an interview with Professor Graham Ogden about his career and his new role at the RCPSG, click here. Prof Ogden is also speaking at the Scottish Dental Show in May.
To register for the Show, visit www.sdshow.co.uk