The proven benefits of being mouth cancer aware

In our day-to-day lives as oral health professionals we have a duty of care to our patients that can often extend beyond the boundaries of oral hygiene. Here’s one real-life story that makes a very strong case for being mouth cancer aware.

November has been Mouth Cancer Action Month and we have received a number of good-news stories from members that we want to share.

This first one has been provided by our President, Dr Melanie Hayes, and relates to a message she was sent from a hugely grateful patient.

Brad Walker was on a routine visit to his oral hygienist, Trezaire, when she noticed a sore in his mouth that she didn’t like the look of.

“Trezaire suggested that I get a biopsy,” explains Brad, “The long story short was that it was cancer.”

The sore was 47 x 35mm and on the floor of his mouth under his tongue. Trezaire (the hygienist) was shocked that no-one had spotted it, but not surprised.

“I have had this sore in my mouth for about 10 years and had been to see three different dentists in this time to have a few teeth pulled. Not one of them had noticed it – Trezaire noticed it in the first minute!”

The sore was 47 x 35mm and on the floor of his mouth under his tongue. Trezaire was shocked no-one had spotted it, but not surprised.

Brad has since been operated on to remove all signs of cancer and he has been given the all clear.

“I went to thank her and give her the photo I had created for her, but I wanted to do something more.”

Brad is starting his own campaign to alert the public that not all dentists look for the signs of cancer, no matter how obvious they are.

He has sent a letter to Kochie at Channel 7, and intends to contact NBN. On hearing his story, The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse – the cancer speciality hospital where he was operated on – have asked for a testimonial to be hosted on their web site.

He has also sent a letter to the Dental Board of Australia asking why it’s not in their Code of Conduct and if it could it be added. He is yet to get a reply.

Brad is hoping to get the opportunity to speak to the first-year student at the University that Trezaire studied at.

His campaign message is simple. Ask your dentist to check for anything unusual that may be cancer. Tell your friends to ask. Get them to tell their friends.

“With a bit of luck we will see if a small ripple can indeed turn into a huge wave,” says Brad. Well hopefully the DHAA can help him with his worthy cause.

If you think you can help Brad in getting his message out there then contact him directly by email [email protected] or call him on 0425 236 857.