Deaths from oral cancer set to rise by 22%

Dental health charity highlights the need for action on oral cancer killer

The latest research from Cancer Research UK [4] has predicted a 17% fall overall by 2030 in the number of deaths from cancer but the British Dental Health Foundation has highlighted its concerns that the expected deaths from oral cancer is set to rise by 22%.

The Foundation has recently launched its Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign, supported by Denplan and Simplyhealth, which takes place throughout November under the strapline ‘If in doubt, get checked out’.

It aims to educate people about the main factors that can cause the disease, with tobacco use and drinking alcohol to excess are still being the main risks of getting causes of the disease, while poor diet, the human papilloma virus (HPV) transmitted via oral sex and forms of smokeless tobacco are also risk factors.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: ‘It is estimated that, over the next decade, 65,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer. Without early detection and treatment half of them will die.

‘Many people are not aware of the symptoms and of mouth cancer, which is why we need to educate people about the risks and warning signs.Β  This is why Mouth Cancer Action Month is such a vital campaign and we provide help and resources to medical professionals, organisations and the public through our website

‘Mouth cancer is a preventable disease and survival rates have increased to 90 per cent with early detection, so through raising awareness and encouraging people to speak to a health professional if they have any doubts, we can help to save lives.’


Mouth cancer can strike in a number of different places, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek, so it is important that people examine their own mouths on a regular basis.

Non-healing mouth ulcers and red or white patches on the tongue or gums, and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth are the most common symptoms of mouth cancer.

Other less common symptoms can include pain on chewing or swallowing, a sore throat that won’t go away, a thickening of the cheek and unusual pain, bleeding or numbness in the mouth.

People worried about any of the symptoms are urged to speak to a dentist, doctor or pharmacist.

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