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​Scotland oral cancer awareness campaign 



BDA Scotland is working with the Oral Health Foundation in support of their Mouth Cancer Action Month, which takes place each November.

Dentists and their teams are encouraged to read the information below, and support Mouth Cancer Action Month by raising awareness amongst patients, ensuring the early detection of oral cancers, and enabling better clinical outcomes for patients.


What's the problem?

Scotland has seen an increase in the incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in the last 30 years. Each year approximately 500 patients are diagnosed with oral cancer and 350 patients are diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer

The risk factors for developing oral and oropharyngeal cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, as well as increasing age and male gender. 

HPV is strongly linked to the recent increase in oropharyngeal cancers. These cancers are distributed unevenly among the population with the greatest number in the most deprived areas.


Treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancer involves surgical resection and reconstruction in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 


What can dentists do?

GDPs and DCPs can play a leading role in reducing the impact of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in Scotland several ways:


  • Screening for oral and oropharyngeal cancer during routine oral examinations of registered patients. This may lead to a discussion on risk factor with patients.
  • Providing rapid access to an oral examination for patients who have suspected lesions found by general medical practitioners (GMPs) and pharmacists of non-registered patients by local agreement.
  • Referring suspected lesions to the local OMFS unit, or equivalent, for investigation.
  • Raising public awareness of oral and oropharyngeal cancer by taking part in the OHF's Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Useful resources

We encourage you to use, and share these resources with your colleagues and dental teams: 


We encourage all dentists to support Mouth Cancer Action Month in November 2017, and to work in partnership with local GMPs and pharmacists, to help non-registered patients get access to an oral examination, which includes the oropharynx and neck.  

We would encourage you to familiarise yourself with local pathways to refer suspected lesions to OMFS departments or equivalent in your area.


What is the BDA doing?

BDA Scotland is working with the BDA's Scottish Council Oral Cancer Working Group, chaired by Dr David Cross.


The Group aims to raise awareness amongst GDPs, GMPs and pharmacists of the increasing incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.  

To raise the profile of oral and oropharyngeal cancer with government, we are currently in discussions with MSPs to agree a sponsor, for an event we plan to hold in 2018.


Tell us: have you detected a case of oral cancer?

We'd love to hear what you are doing to help raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month, and we are particularly keen on hearing about any stories of cases of oral cancer you have detected.


Please email and let us know what you've been doing for Mouth Cancer Action Month.