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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.

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.


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. 




CPD and seminars on oral cancers

We run seminars and courses each year on oral and mouth cancers:

Oral cancers: BDA campaigning work


Raising awarenesss of oral cancers

We helped to organise 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.


Campaigning for gender-neutral HPV vaccinations 

Alongside HPV Action, we've been 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.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) made an interim statement in July 2017 in which they did not recommend extending the vaccination to boys saying that to do so would not be cost-effective – a decision which we condemned

We wrote to the Department for Health and Social Care to urge the Government to extend the programme of HPV vaccinations to become gender neutral, ahead of the JCVI's June 2018 meeting, where this issue was due to be discussed.

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.


We also suggested that withholding the vaccine from boys, while immunising girls, might constitute gender discrimination under equality law.


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.


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.


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



Top tips and resources for detecting oral cancers

We offer a range of resources and advice on detecting oral cancers, including the occasional paper on prevention and early detection

The BDA Library has copies of the latest research findings on oral cancers and a host of other topics to help you keep your knowledge up-to-date.

Resources for all health professionals in Scotland

BDA Scotland's working group on oral cancers, chaired by Dr David Cross, has produced a resource pack for dentists and dental care professionals; this includes advice on how to carry out an examination of the mouth, oropharynx and neck for cancer, what lesions to refer, and an up-to-date guide on how to access OMFS services

We've produced a short briefing on oral and oropharyngeal cancers, which we hope is useful for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and the whole healthcare team (particularly those working in primary care) to explain some of the key terms and definitions, epidemology, the risk factors and prevention.

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.

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.