21 things you need to know about mouth cancer which could save someone's life

It’s November which means it is Mouth Cancer Action Month, a campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer and promoting the importance of early detection in ultimately saving lives. Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month is your chance to make a difference. By knowing the facts around mouth cancer we will have the ability to stop this disease in its tracks. We have put together 21 facts you really need to know and may shock you about mouth cancer, how many do you know?

1 - In the UK, one person is told they have mouth cancer every 77 minutes.

2 - This is almost 7 thousand people every year.

3 - Mouth cancer claims more lives than testicular and cervical cancer combined.

4 - Mouth cancer takes more lives every year than road traffic accidents on Britain’s roads.

5 - Mouth cancer is diagnosed in more than twice as many men than women but there are more cases in women than ever before.

6 - Shockingly, one in ten have never heard of mouth cancer.

7 - Cases of mouth cancer have increased by a third in the last decade alone.

8 - Survival rates based on a late diagnosis are as little as 50% but chances of survival drastically increase with anearly diagnosis to 90%.

9 - Scotland has more cases per capita than in England, Northern Ireland or Wales.

10 - Mouth cancer is one of very few cancers which incidences are actually predicted to increase in the future.

11 - Smoking is the leading cause of mouth cancer.

12 - But HPV is predicted to overtake it as the leading cause of mouth cancer in the next decade.

13 - HPV is predominantly transmitted through oral sex.

14 - Extending the HPV vaccine to include boys of a school age could save thousands of lives.

15 - Excessive use of alcohol is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth in women.

16 - Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.

17 - Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination.

18 - As part of every check-up a dentist is required to carry out a visual examination to look for the early signs of mouth cancer.

19 - Mouth cancer can affect anyone.

20 - Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include: ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red or white patchesand any unusual lumps or swellings.

21 - If in doubt get checked out by your dentist or doctor as soon as possible.

With your help Mouth Cancer Action Month is the perfect opportunity to fight back against mouth cancer, we want everyone to be Mouthaware and be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.

Share these facts to spread awareness of mouth cancer to everyone and ensure we are all together in combating mouth cancer.

To find out more about mouth cancer please visit http://www.mouthcancer.org/ and show your support for Mouth Cancer Action Month.


CONTACTFor all press and media enquiries please contact:Communications Manager: David Arnold

PR & Press Officer: Gavin Hawes

Press team: 01788 539792
Out of office contact: 07921 020593


Every November, the British Dental Health Foundation organises and runs Mouth Cancer Action Month, under the message ‘if in doubt, get checked out’. Our campaign has become an influential springboard in educating the public about mouth cancer, highlighting the risks, symptoms and causes of the disease.The campaign is about taking action and raising awareness, particularly among those groups who are most at risk. We want people to look out for ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth, and unusual lumps or swellings while encouraging them to regularly visit a dentist to ensure they’re checked for signs of mouth cancer.

By working closely with the dental and health profession and supporting them in their activities to patients and local communities, we continue to increase mouth cancer awareness and save lives through early detection.

Mouth Cancer Action Month is Sponsored by Denplan and also supported by Dentists’ Provident, plus a number of other professional and commercial partners including Dental Update.

For further information please register your details at www.mouthcancer.org and www.mouthcancerfoundation.org

Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In the last year 6,767 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago.

Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.

Mouth cancer may affect anybody but many cases are linked to lifestyle choices and certain risk factors increase your chances of developing the disease. These risk factors include:
Smoking: The leading cause of mouth cancer, tobacco transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.

Alcohol: Excessive use is linked to more than a third of mouth cancer cases in men and a fifth in women. Heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.

HPV: A sexually transmitted virus which experts suggest could rival tobacco and alcohol as a leading risk factor within 10 years. Those with multiple sexual partners are more at risk.

Diet: New research has suggested that there is a noticeable risk reduction for mouth cancer with each additional daily serving of fruit or vegetables. A healthy, balanced diet is vital.

Smokeless tobacco: Although some people believe this type of tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is much more dangerous. The types of smokeless tobacco products most used in the UK often contain a mix of ingredients including slaked lime, betel (or areca) nut and spices, flavourings and sweeteners.

The British Dental Health Foundation is the leading national charity working to improve oral health. Our goal is to improve people’s lives by reducing the harm caused by oral diseases – many of which are entirely preventable.

Established more than 40 years ago, we continue to provide expert, independent and impartial advice on all aspects of oral health to those who need it most.

We work closely with Government, dental and health professionals, manufacturers, the dental trade, national and local agencies and the public, to achieve our mission of addressing the inequalities which exist in oral health, changing people’s lives for the better.



Editors Notes




01788 575050


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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