Mum calls on government to make dental care free for all cancer patients

Mum calls on government to make dental care free for all cancer patients

21/01/2020 IN Cancer
Mum calls on government to make dental care free for all cancer patients

A petition launched by Michele Solak has already reached over 100,000 signatures and will be debated in parliament.

Paying £100 to go to the dentist might not sound like such a big deal.

But when you've already lost a chunk of income to cancer, and money is tight - paying for dental work can come as a huge burden.

Michele Solak noticed her teeth were crumbling after her first round of chemotherapy.

The mum-of-one from Flixton, Trafford, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the age of 53.

Extensive treatment and medication meant she had to quit her job, leaving her family of three in a difficult place, financially.

So when she turned up for a dentist appointment and was told she'd have to pay, Michele felt that something needed to change.

Currently, cancer patients receive five years of free prescriptions on the NHS, but this doesn't include dental work.

Michele says she has spoken to hundreds of people in a similar position, who had been forced to fork out thousands of pounds for treatment.

"I had joined a Facebook group for women with triple negative breast cancer when I was diagnosed," Michele said.

"Over two years I noticed there were so many women who were saying; "my teeth are crumbling and I can't afford to fix them."

"I felt like I had to do something."

Earlier this month, Michele set up a petition calling on the government to make dental work free on the NHS for cancer patients.

The petition has already received over 100,000 signatures and will now be debated in parliament, with the backing of her MP Kate Green.

Michele's own story began in February 2016, following a routine mammogram.

She feared the worst after a letter came through the post, telling her to attend an appointment at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Her daughter was only 12-years-old when Michele was told she had breast cancer.

"I had no inkling I was ever going to get cancer," she said.

"I just always thought it was something that would happen to someone else.

"I went to that appointment and it was probably the worst day of my life. My whole life shattered."

Michele began chemotherapy straight away, and in January 2017, she opted to have a double mastectomy.

Soon after treatment, she noticed her tooth had begun crumbling, and booked an appointment with her dentist.

She had to pay around £100 for treatment.

Michele is now calling on the government to reform the NHS.

She believes dental care should be free for five years for cancer patients, and for as long as required for those who are terminally ill.

"I was just thinking why should I have to pay for this," Michele said.

"When you are diagnosed with cancer you don't plan it - the diagnosis usually comes completely out of the blue.

"I am the primary income earner in the family and we got into some debt that we are only just getting out of."

"£100 to fix your tooth might not sound like a lot, but when you are already counting the money that is a lot to pay," she added.

Michele is still receiving treatment, but doctors have not detected any cancerous cells since January 2017.

Her petition has been running for less than a month but has already gained the backing in 106,061 people, at time of writing.

You can sign her petition here.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/mum-calls-government-make-dental-17613510

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