Internet Explorer and Edge browser users:
To download Word, Excel or PowerPoint files please right-click on the file you wish to download, and select 'Save target as...'

Oral cancers

Dentists and their teams have a vital role to play in ensuring oral cancers are detected early and patients are informed about the risk factors.

With oral cancers, the key is spotting early on: early detection results in a roughly 90 per cent survival rate, compared to a 50 per cent survival rate for delayed diagnosis - we campaign to raise awareness of the issues, and provide resources for dental professionals to use.




November is the Oral Health Foundation's Mouth Cancer Action Month and we encourage all dentists and their teams to take part and help raise awareness of mouth cancer with your patients.

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

Please email and let us know if you have detected a case, or let us know what you've been doing during November for the campaign.





​Free oral cancer toolkit for dental professionals with CPD


We have developed an oral cancer toolkit in partnership with Cancer Research UK, to help dental health professionals identify and refer possible cases of oral cancer, please use it:


The toolkit includes information on the signs to look out for, how to respond, as well as possible risk factors and includes a CPD quiz, with 3 hours of verifiable CPD. 

Training and CDP events


Oral cancer - identify, refer and prevent

Friday 23 November | London

Improve your knowledge of the prevention and detection of oral cancer, including what to look out for and when and how to respond




BDA ILearn CPD series

Our iLearn CPD series can be done at anytime, online: we have several iLearns on the topic of oral cancers, find out more.



What is the BDA doing about oral cancers?


1. Raising awarenesss of oral cancers

We organised an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dentistry and Oral Health meeting on the topic of oral cancers, highlighting the devastating impact for patients and our work campaigning to raise public awareness of this disease. 


We launched Oral cancer - a plan for action in the Scottish Parliament in November 2018, and we were delighted to be joined by cancer survivors from across Scotland and MSPs from across the political spectrum. We will continue to campaign on this issue to help tackle the rising rates of oral cancer in Scotland.


2. Campaigning for gender-neutral HPV vaccinations 

Alongside HPV Action, we campaigning for an extension of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine programme to include school-aged boys.

We've welcomed the Government's announcement that all 12 and 13-year-olds in England will be vaccinated against HPV.

We set out the case for blanket immunisation against HPV, and said it was morally indefensible to allow thousands of men to develop cancers, which could be easily and cheaply prevented. 


3. Protecting smoking-cessation funding

We have called for smoking-cessation funding to be ring-fenced and highlighted that cutting local councils' public health budgets means that services which are not mandatory, such as support for smokers who want to quit, are under threat.


4. Action on the plain packaging of cigarettes

We campaigned vigorously for action on plain packaging of cigarettes, alongside the Smokefree Action Coalition and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and we welcomed the news in 2015, that plain packaging was to be fast-tracked. 

Retailers have had to conform to the new guidance on plain packaging for tobacco products from 20 May 2016.

Find out more

Read about our latest campaigning work on oral cancer in our blogs. 

Top tips and resources for detecting oral cancers



Oral cancer public health initiatives


We support a range of initiatives focusing on oral and mouth cancers, and we encourage dentists and their teams to get involved.

Each year, we support:

Resources for dental patients


Useful resources for dental patients on oral cancers can be found on the Oral Health Foundation's website.

Cancer Research UK also have free practical resources for healthcare professions on smoking cessation - with tools on discussing smoking cessation with patients.

Working for you

Through policy and campaigning work, the BDA is able to ensure that the concerns of all sections of the profession are raised and that dentists' voices are heard at a national level: join us.

You can also follow updates from the BDA on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.