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Dental Tribune United Kingdom Edition

7Special FeatureNovember 2013United Kingdom Edition associated cancers is now al- most the same in men as in women. Men face a significant and rising risk of HPV-associ- ated disease, and without vac- cination men remain at risk. “It is not fair, ethical or socially responsible to have a public health policy that leaves half of the population vulnerable to infection. This is why men should get the HPV vaccine immediately.” Dr Carter supported Pro- fessor Stanley’s call for giv- ing boys the jab: “The HPV vaccination of young men has already started in Australia and the British Dental Health Foundation is calling for the same to happen in the UK. A wealth of evidence and opin- ion in the USA suggests a pop- ulation-wide HPV vaccination programme is now the best solution – for general public health and financial reasons. It is a debate that needs to be opened again here in the UK, as part of the on-going debate about the health and well-be- ing of young people. “In the UK around one in five cases of oral cancer are predicted to be as a result of HPV, yet our awareness and understanding of the virus is alarmingly low. Cases of mouth cancer have doubled in the last 30 years, coincid- ing with the rise of HPV, and strengthen the argument that there is not enough aware- ness of the risks we take when we have unprotected sex.” Long way to go Despite the success of previ- ous campaigns, a recent sur- vey shows that there is much more still to do to establish the signs and symptoms of mouth caner in the public mindset. The survey2 asked more than 2,000 people if they could name the four main risk fac- tors for mouth cancer, with no-one able to identify the quartet of smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and, despite Michael Douglas’ high profile case, HPV. Worryingly, a large num- ber of people mistakenly thought bad oral health was responsible for the dis- ease while other answers in- cluded stress, smog, anaemia, snoring and even high blood pressure. Dr Carter said: “For no-one to be able to correctly identify what the four causes of the disease are is both surprising and worrying. The campaign continues to play a crucial role in educating the public about the disease, and it’s clear from the survey we still have some way to go. “The campaign is a great opportunity for the public to learn about the risks and what to look out for. Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patch- es and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth should not be ignored. Our advice is clear – if in doubt, get checked out.” DT Mouth Cancer Action Month runs throughout No- vember. For more information, visit References 1. http://www.cancerresearchuk. org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/ oral/?script=true 2. Research conducted on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation by OnePoll, September 2013. Sample size: 2,00 ‘Our advice is clear – if in doubt, get checked out’