Over the last year, 8,772 people in the UK were given the life-changing news that they have mouth cancer – this is one person every hour.
These numbers continue to rise while the disease claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
The more we know about mouth cancer, the better chance we have of beating it. This means knowing how to spot mouth cancer early and knowing where to go when we see something out of the ordinary. It also means reducing our risk by cutting down on the things that cause mouth cancer.
Sadly, awareness of mouth cancer continues to be poor.
Only one-in-four know the early warning signs while knowledge of the main risk factors is as low as 15%.
Like all cancers, early diagnosis of mouth cancer is crucial. Yet around two-thirds have never checked their mouth for signs of cancer. Problems accessing health services during the pandemic has also led to a fall in referrals.
These factors all contribute to a scenario where almost half of all mouth cancers are diagnosed in stage IV, when the cancer is at its most advanced phase. This reduces a person’s quality of life and makes their chances of survival so much more difficult.
To address this, the Oral Health Foundation and Denplan have produced our new Mouth Cancer Action Charter
The charter sets out the top policy interventions we believe would be most effective in addressing the increasing rates of mouth cancer.
- Conducting a government funded public health awareness campaign of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.
- Improving access to routine dentistry so more oral cancers can be detected at an earlier stage.
- Enabling enhanced training of GPs to identify suspected mouth cancers and change the NICE guidelines so that more cases can be referred to secondary care.
- Improving training programmes for healthcare staff to look for signs of mouth cancer.
- Introducing free dental check-ups and treatment for mouth cancer patients.
- Supporting the development of better technology to diagnose mouth cancers.
The full charter can be read below.
Read the full Mouth Cancer Action Charter
Please show your support by signing the charter, adding your name to these important measures.
We truly believe these are key battlegrounds in our fight against mouth cancer.