Dental practices, hospitals and schools up and down the country have been busy this November helping raise awareness...
The Restorative Dentistry Oncology Clinics are held at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford and at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, where Dr Vinod K Joshi provides oral care and advice before, during and after his patients' cancer treatment.
In January 2002, Dr Joshi set up the RDOC Mouth Cancer Awareness web site to complement his work at the clinics. Witnessing the web site's phenomenal growth over the first 2 years, especially the message board's ability to act as a robust online support group, convinced him of the need to establish the Mouth Cancer Foundation in June 2004, a not-for-profit organisation with the intention of becoming a registered charity. In May 2005, the Mouth Cancer Foundation became a registered charity No. 110929
After the diagnosis of oral cancer, it is important to ensure that the diagnosed patient receives any urgent dental care before treatment. This will reduce the oral complications associated with cancer treatment.
By starting preventive measures before and during early cancer therapy, it is possible to reduce the occurrence and the problems associated with our patients’ cancer treatment. If this is done it can significantly improve oral physiologic and social functioning. Prevention of oral sequela is much preferred to repair, both on a social and an economic basis. The patient’s oral care and function is an important contributor to post treatment social adaptation and life quality. The Calman report on cancer care emphasised the need to focus treatment and management regimens on both longevity and quality of life.
Due to the need for rapid dental treatment planning and care delivery, it is mandatory for a dental assessment and initial dental treatment plan to be at the Restorative Dentistry Oncology Clinic. Ideally, head and neck cancer patients should be referred to a well-staffed specialist dental oncology unit for their appropriate care and treatment planning. However, the lack of manpower means that comprehensive total dental care will be unavailable. It is unfortunate that this has occurred. It is hoped that funding for well staffed dental oncology clinics at cancer centres or host hospitals will be planned for.
Until then, the service will need to depend upon follow-up care delivered by the general dental practitioner in collaboration with the consultant at the Restorative Dentistry Oncology Clinic.