Mouth cancer lobby calls for new screening test

Mouth cancer campaigners are calling for the introduction of a new HPV test in Britain which would help diagnose mouth cancer at an early stage.

The British Dental Health Foundation – organisers of Mouth Cancer Action Month – has welcomed the screening procedure which detects a virus strongly linked to oral and throat cancer.

In the lead up to World Cancer Day on Thursday (4 February), the Foundation believes the introduction of the test, available in America, would dramatically cut the current number of mouth cancr cases.

World Cancer Day is organised by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and is backed by a new scientific report: ‘Protection against cancer causing infections’ which focuses on the nine infections that can lead to cancer.

Its aim is to increase public awareness on the prevention of cancer and enlighten patients on how a number of simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer later in life.

The examination the BDHF want made available in the UK is for the oral human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, and can be tested in the dentist’s chair.

The test identifies one of two exceptionally dangerous forms of HPV long before the virus develops into cancer and creates lesions.

Chief executive of the BDHF, Dr Nigel Carter, stressed the importance of early diagnosis.

Dr Carter said: ‘Currently the best chance of beating the cancer comes from early detection, improving survival rates to more than 90%.’

Celebrated every year on 4 February, World Cancer Day is led by UICC and its member organisations with the support of the World Health Organization and key partners.

For more information, visit

Become a Dentistry Online member

Become a member
Add to calendar