Prevention of Oral Cancer

Prevention of Oral Cancer

Helping patients become more aware of what they can do to prevent oral cancer is important for all health professionals. You don't have to do it all on your own - make contact with your local Health Promotion Department, an important resource, both in terms of trained personnel and health education materials.

A Health Promoting Environment

You should aim to provide a healthy work environment for staff as well as patients.

Have patient information which covers the topics of healthy eating, smoking cessation and sensible drinking, as well as sun protection available in the waiting room and at reception. Most important in oral cancer prevention are smoking cessation and sensible drinking.

Have a practice policy of no-smoking, both in work areas and in the waiting room. Involve all your staff in the development of your policy, if you don't already have one. Your Health Promotion Department can help with this.

Agree with your staff that one member should act as the liaison between the local Health Promotion Department and report back to practice meetings about any new health education literature available.

Simple Steps to Getting Started

Before looking in your patient's mouth, as part of your history taking, record information on your patient's smoking and alcohol habits.

Raise the issue and record the information as part of the routine examination, with regular attenders, as well as new patients.

'For my notes, I'd like to ask you about your smoking and drinking habits. Do you smoke? Do you drink alcohol at all…?'
       [ Smoking Issues ] [ Alcohol Issues ]