Leave your mark: Petition to challenge inequalities
In November the British Dental Health Foundation, along with Dr Chet Trivedy, attempted to draw attention to the unfair situation faced by many mouth cancer patients compared to most other forms of cancers. An e-petition was formed to coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month (MCAM) to eradicate dental charges for those who are or have suffered from mouth cancer. Although the MCAM campaign may be over for another year, the fight for mouth cancer action continues, as we attempt to encourage those who have not yet signed the e-petition to do so now.
Macmillan Cancer Support recently highlighted the financial burden affecting cancer patients, with two thirds reporting an increase in costs are a result of suffering from cancer. For many mouth cancer sufferers the financial challenges are even more daunting.
Within the hospital system mouth cancer patients receive all their treatment free of charge in line with patients with other cancers. Sadly, this is not the case outside the hospital setting. The nature of treatment for mouth cancer, irrespective of the modality, has a significant impact upon the teeth as well as the soft tissues of the mouth as a direct consequence of treatment. This often leaves the patient with significant lifelong dental needs. If they were fortunate to have access to a restorative specialist, who was linked to their cancer unit, this treatment would be free.
In the Foundation’s opinion there would be a public outcry if patients with any other type cancer were asked to contribute to the cost of their reconstructive treatment. Therefore, we think it is time for the dental profession to stand up for patients and we have established an e-petition to encourage Government to add patients who have had treatment for mouth cancer to be exempt from NHS dental charges.
If we want to really make an impact on the statistics and support for mouth cancer sufferers in the UK we cannot ignore the unfairness of the current arrangements. We hope it is an issue that the whole profession will support over the coming months.
The Foundation hopes that all dental professionals will get behind the call to action by signing this e-petition. Thank you.