2 October 2019
The month of October is synonymous with crisp autumn leaves and carving pumpkins, but it’s also an important month in terms of cancer awareness. Breast Cancer Awareness Month spans the whole of October, and is an important opportunity for you and your practice to help patients understand more about the disease and its links to oral health, as well as raise some funds to support a very important cause.
According to research, the risk of developing breast cancer is up to three times higher in women who have periodontal disease.[i]This is thought to be because the body’s systematic inflammation that originates in infected gums triggers the cell mutations that create breast cancer tumours. Another suggested link is that bacteria entering the circulatory system through infected gums can eventually end up in the breast and cause tumours to form.
Whilst neither of these theories offer iron clad proof, there is strong evidence to support that an association does exist, especially in regards to postmenopausal women.[ii]This is something that professionals should take the time to warn patients about, especially if there is evidence that they have some level of gum disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also a good opportunity for your practice to raise some funds to support breast cancer charities. Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in women in the UK, and 55,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed every year.[iii]Men are also not immune, and though numbers are much smaller, there are still 350 new cases of breast cancer among them in the UK every year.
Luckily, there are some fantastic charities that you can support in a number of different ways. Breast Cancer Now not only have a wealth of information about the disease available for those who want to learn more, but also support Breast Cancer Awareness Month by encouraging people to wear pink to raise awareness and funds.
You can find out more about the work they do to battle the disease and about Breast Cancer Awareness Month HERE: www.wearitpink.org
Another good charity to support is the Pink Ribbon Foundation. One of their fun initiatives is called SHOOT4PINK and encourages people to play ball sports and keep active in order to raise funds. You can find out how to take part and download a free fundraising pack HERE: https://shoot4pink.com/
There are lots of ways to get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Could you have an all pink day at your practice? Or perhaps you could get the more active members of your team to band together and run a sponsored race or something similarly challenging? The options are endless and whatever you do you can feel confident that by warning patients of the risks of gum disease and raising awareness of breast cancer, you are doing your bit in battling this deadly disease.
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk call 01788 575050 or email email@example.com
[i]Oral Health Foundation. Breast Cancer Risk Up To Three Times Higher in Women With Gum Disease. Link: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/breast-cancer-risk-up-to-three-times-higher-in-women-with-gum-disease[Last accessed July 19].
[ii]American Association for Cancer Research. Periodontal Disease is Associated With Increased Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women. Link: https://www.aacr.org/Newsroom/Pages/News-Release-Detail.aspx?ItemID=823[Last accessed July 19].
[iii]Breast Cancer Now. Breast Cancer Facts. Link: https://breastcancernow.org/about-breast-cancer/want-to-know-about-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-facts[Last accessed July 19].
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.
BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.
Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.
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