UAE dentists urge awareness of oral cancer

Dentists say it is not just smokers who are at risk of the disease and have stressed the need for everyone to get tested

DUBAI // More people need to be aware of the symptoms of oral cancer, UAE dentists have said.

That includes young people who do not smoke – 26 per cent of oral cancer worldwide has been caused by the human papillomavirus, said Dr David Roze of Dr Roze & Associates Dental Clinic in Dubai.

The virus is especially responsible for oral cancers in young people, he said. People who smoke, drink alcohol or use smokeless tobacco also increase their risk of getting oral cancer.

But three in four cases are detected by dentists, and a 2013 study found that 5 per cent of respondents had been screened for oral cancer, said Dr Roze.

The same study, conducted by the University of Sharjah College of Dentistry, also found that more than a third of the Emiratis and expatriates who responded said they were unaware of oral cancer.

People should watch for “anything that feels funny” and lasts for two to three weeks, Dr Roze said.

Look for “anything strange that is growing or is changing or is bleeding or is painful”, he added.

Other symptoms include red or white spots, difficulty swallowing, persistent coughs, and head or neck pain.

“We need to let people know more about this risk, and this is, I think, our role – to educate people,” he said.

Dr Roze said dentists around the world recognise oral cancer awareness during the months of May and November, using a blue ribbon.

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM