Awareness Of Mouth Cancer Must Take Place "All Year Round" Says Dental Expert

Despite 2010 proving one of the most successful campaigns since its first outing ten years ago, Dr Carter is asking health professionals from around the UK to keep the public aware of mouth cancer all year round.

Dr Carter said: “The support from the profession since the campaign started has been sensational and has grown year–on–year. The sheer number of surgeries and PCTs taking part, through free screenings, decking the walls with our posters, sporting Blue Ribbon Badges and working hard to highlight the campaign has been immensely pleasing.

“Unfortunately, mouth cancer has become one of the UK’s fastest growing cancers, so in addition to raising awareness throughout the campaign, we’re asking the profession to carry on their good work and take action on the front line against this disease all year round – we are certainly in a great position to do so.”

Rates of mouth cancer have increased by over 40 percent over the last decade while the latest figures show a worrying 10 percent increase during the last year alone. There are now 6,000 new cases a year, with survival rates increasing massively with early detection, from just five out of every ten people to nine out of ten.

“Opening the practice doors to oral screening sessions, educating patients on risk factors will help save lives, boost awareness and take action to curb the impact of mouth cancer.

Offering simple self–diagnosis advice such as looking for ulcers which do not heal within three weeks and red or white patches or unusual lumps in the mouth and neck, can also help towards early detection,” Dr Carter added.

Mouth Cancer Action Month ran throughout November and with the help from the profession was able to spread awareness of mouth cancer to the wider public – a disease which kills on average one person every five hours in the UK.

“Dental payment plan specialists, Denplan, have continued to sponsor our campaign making elements such as the survey as well as design, print and distribution of the poster possible.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to Dental Update and the Probe for the distribution of the Guide to more than 25,000 UK health professionals and Smile–On for the campaign website, along with the mouth cancer CPD programme – of which free demos were handed out during the launch.

“Finally, I would like to thank all those who were able to attend the launch of the campaign at the Houses of Parliament. It was marvellous to see so many people there and it turned out to be one of the best attended launches we have had – it really does go to show that we care about this devastating disease.”

The campaign survey in conjunction with Denplan, which questioned more than 1,000 people in the UK about their knowledge of mouth cancer, brought up some worrying results with one person in every 10 claimed not even to have heard of mouth cancer.

Meanwhile, more than a third dramatically underestimated the prevalence of the disease by incorrectly saying that mouth cancer was responsible for one death every day in the UK.

Dr Henry Clover, Deputy Chief Dental Officer at Denplan said: “The statistics showing an increase in deaths from mouth cancer are deeply worrying. But there is good news – with early diagnosis, survival chances increase to 90%. The British Dental Health Foundation is leading the way in raising awareness of this killer disease and we are delighted to continue to support this campaign, to encourage greater participation from the dental profession and to help reduce these figures.”

During the month, the Foundation also continued campaigning for vaccines for boys to protect against the risks of cancers caused by the human papilloma virus and smoking cessation powers for dental professionals.

For further information visit the dedicated campaign website, alternatively, the National Dental Helpline is available Monday to Friday for free and impartial expert advice on 0845 063 1188.


Editor’s notes

For further information or to receive a free demo copy of the Smile–On CPD demo programme please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on 01788 539 792 or email [email protected]

You can find more information on mouth cancer at the website

Mouth cancer is twice more common in men than in women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease.

Previously, the disease has been five times more common in men than women.

Age is another factor, with people over the age of 40 more likely to be diagnosed, though more young people are now being affected than previously.

People who smoke and drink to excess have been found to be at a higher risk, and are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.

Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases, and experts suggest HPV could overtake tobacco and alcohol as the main risk factor within the coming decade.

The charity strongly advises people of all ages to check their mouths and have regular dental appointments.

Initial signs of the disease include a non–healing mouth ulcer, a red or white patch in the mouth, or unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth.

The National Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, they can be contacted by email on [email protected]

The British Dental Health Foundation website can be accessed at The Foundation also hosts two other websites: one for Mouth Cancer Action Month ( and other for National Smile Month (

Please visit the Foundation’s Twitter accounts: dentalhealthorg, mouthcancerorg and smilemonth and add our Facebook fan–page: ‘British Dental Health Foundation’.

The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 40–year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health.

A series of 53 ‘Tell Me About…’ leaflets covering topics such as ‘mouth cancer’, ‘smoking and oral health’ and ‘tooth whitening’ are also available by contacting the Foundation.

Categories Cancers