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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.

Dentists raising awareness: Mouth Cancer Action Month



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. 

Upcoming training

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

Find out more

What is the BDA doing about oral cancers?

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 campaigning for an extension of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine programme to include school-aged boys, which was


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.


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.


Find out more

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.


BDA Scotland has produced a guide on how to access OMFS services and a factsheet on oral cancer for dentists in Scotland.


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.

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.