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Health

Get Mouthy About Cancer

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THE HEAD and Neck Cancer Foundation (HNCF) is calling all Brits to ask their dentists to conduct mouth cancer screens at their next appointment. This should be routinely included within the price of a dental check-up and should take no more than one minute.

Consumer research conducted by HNCF in partnership with YouGov – as part of its Get Mouthy About Cancer campaign – shows that we could all be doing more to specifically drive early diagnosis of mouth cancers.

Early detection is paramount to improving patient outcomes – as these types of cancers can be extremely aggressive, disfiguring and life-limiting.

HNCF’s research asked people in Wales how often they have routine dental check-ups and if they are receiving mouth cancer screening.

6% of people in Wales admit to never going to the dentist for a check-up and a further 3% said they do not recall the last time they went to the dentist

Only half of the Welsh population visit the dentist every six months for a routine check-up.

Shockingly, over half (51%) of those in Wales stated that they were not sure if their dentist had carried out a mouth cancer check at their last check-up

When looking nationally at overall awareness of mouth cancer screening – nearly three-quarters of all Brits stated their dentist does not do a regular mouth cancer screen, or they are unaware of it being done during their last check-up. Which means the vast majority of us are missing out on this simple routine and potentially life-saving screen.

Michelle Vickers, CEO at The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation commented on the findings: “As a nation, we are regrettably unaware that our dentists can play a huge role in oral cancer detection and be routinely screening for signs of mouth cancer during check-ups. Dentists are taught to do this as part of their standard oral check-up process. If people were screened they would know – as the tongue is held to either side of the mouth and the dentist is likely to follow the gums for signs of abnormal growth. We are asking everyone to ask their dentist for a routine screen the next time they visit – it’s really that simple.

“We’ve introduced our Get Mouthy About Cancer campaign because we all hear so often (and know how) to check our boobs or balls – but I bet the majority of people are unaware of what they’re looking for in their mouth! 31 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancers each day in the UK – so it’s time to get talking about what to look for. We brush our teeth daily – just an extra 30-60 seconds to check oral health could save your life!”

To find out how to check please watch HNCF’s video: http://bit.ly/HNCFWales. Once you’ve seen this video you will know whether your dentist is checking your mouth, or not, and how to check yourself at home.

Professor Mark McGurk, world-renowned surgeon and founder of HNCF added: “We want everyone to be having a conversation about mouth cancers. By bringing routine mouth checks front-of-mind and putting it on the agenda – we will raise awareness, raise the number of early detections and reduce the number of people facing stage two and three mouth cancers.”

For those patients who do detect mouth cancer early, technological and medical innovation means that treatment can now be offered in a much less invasive manner, by using the Sentinel Node Biopsy technique (SNB). SNB is an alternative and significantly less invasive treatment for dealing with head and neck cancers. The fluorescent camera and technology locates the nodes in the neck that will contain migrating cancer cells so that these can be targeted and removed – this saves over 70% of patients with early disease from a neck dissection. It spares vital glands and helps patients get back to a normal life more quickly, compared to traditional neck dissection techniques.

SNB has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is fully adopted in Denmark and the Netherlands, and is growing in deployment across Europe and the US. This practice, pioneered by Professor Mark McGurk, is the result of 15 years’ development and is based on the findings of nearly 500 cases.

HNCF works to educate and train both surgeons and nurses around the UK on this treatment and state-of-the-art technology, to bring a better outcome and time-saving treatment to oral cancer patients.

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Health

Third day for hospital operation cancellations for ‘patient safety’

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board has confirmed that, in the interest of patient safety, planned inpatient operations scheduled for today (Wednesday 8 January 2020) have been postponed at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals. Emergency surgery, day case procedures and outpatient appointments are continuing as normal.
These actions are in line with our escalation procedures to help manage patient flow and maintain patient safety during periods of peak pressure.
We have contacted patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.
Whilst the situation remains challenging, we are currently assessing our operating plans for the days ahead and, as per normal planning arrangements, these will be reviewed on a daily basis.
We will issue an updated statement when a large proportion of planned operations resume.
We apologise for an inconvenience this may cause patients who have had their operations postponed or who have had to wait longer than normal for their procedure.

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Health

Operations at all west Wales hospitals, including Withybush cancelled again today

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THE HEALTH BOARD has confirmed that, in the interest of patient safety, routine planned operations remain cancelled today (Tuesday 7 January 2020) at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals.

Operations were also cancelled yesterday for the same reason.

The exception to this is emergency surgery and urgent cases wherever possible, as well as most day surgery, with the exception of Bronglais Hospital. All outpatient appointments are continuing as normal.

A spokesman said: “We are contacting patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.

“This situation remains challenging with the Health Board operating in line with our escalation procedures to help manage patient flow and maintain patient safety. This includes commissioning additional areas to accommodate patients who require overnight care and support from senior clinicians, managers and other staff not initially rostered to work over the weekend to support the review and care of patients.

“In collaboration with our Local Authority partners, we continue to implement our broader winter plan which is designed to help reduce demand for hospital admission and prioritise patients for care within their home environment over the wider winter period. Over the next few weeks, a number of staff taking on new and different roles will be coming into post to support patients to receive the most appropriate care for their needs in the most appropriate setting. These are resourced through the winter planning monies supported by Welsh Government, in addition to the money we invested ourselves as a Health Board.”

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Health

Withybush General Hospital cancels all operations citing patient safety

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WITHYBUSH HOSPITAL has taken the unusual step of cancelling all inpatient operations in the interest of patient safety.
Hywel Dda University Health Board said they have decided to cancel inpatient operation at Bronglais, Prince Philip, Glangwili and Withybush today (Jan 6).
The health board has asked people do not attend an emergency department or GP practice if you have symptoms of infectious illness such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or symptoms of flu. Flu and norovirus are circulating and for the majority of people, these can be treated safely at home.
However, the vulnerable – very young, frail elderly, living with long term or chronic conditions – or those with symptoms worsening should seek medical advice.
In a statement issued by the Health Board to The Pembrokeshire Herald, a spokesperson said: “It has been an extraordinary weekend for our health service, with critical pressures being felt across all of our hospital A&E departments, GPs and our community services.
“In the interest of patient safety, Hywel Dda University Health Board has made the decision to cancel inpatient operations at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals today.
“We are contacting patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.
“If you are unwell, please be aware that you may experience long waits for a GP appointment and at our A&E or MIU units at this time, for which we wholeheartedly apologise. If there are other services you can use, such as community pharmacies, please do so.”
Dr Philip Kloer, Medical Director at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “First I’d like to thank all my NHS colleagues across our hospitals, primary care and in the community for their commitment to our patients at this highly pressurised time.
“This weekend saw our hospitals at a level of escalation not seen before and it is in the interest of patient safety that we have postponed planned operations today. I understand this may be frustrating for those who have waited for their operation and I apologise for this.
“In response to the pressures being experienced today, we are redeploying staff to areas where additional support is needed, including contacting staff currently on leave. We are also working with our colleagues in the local authority and the families of those well enough to be discharged to ensure our medically well can go home or to an appropriate care setting as soon as possible.”

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