About mouth cancer

Cases of mouth cancer have grown by a third in the last decade, with over 7,000 people in the UK being diagnosed. 

Mouth cancer remains one of very few cancers which is predicted to increase further in the coming years*, making it more important than ever to raise awareness of this disease and help to save lives. 

We are the main sponsor of Mouth Cancer Action Month 2017 – run by the Oral Health Foundation. For more information about the campaign and mouth cancer go to www.mouthcancer.org.

What are the causes?

Mouth cancer doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or lifestyle. However, certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer including smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol to excess, a poor diet, and the HPV virus spread through oral sex. Recognising the symptoms early and visiting a dentist regularly can save lives. 

Mouth thumbnail

Mouth cancer doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or lifestyle.

What are the symptoms?

Mouth cancer can have many different symptoms including:

  • A mouth ulcer that doesn't heal within three weeks
  • Red or white patches in the mouth or throat
  • Unusual lumps or swellings
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Teeth that become loose for no obvious reason
  • Bleeding or numbness within the mouth
  • Changes in the voice


Can mouth cancer be cured? 

If the symptoms of mouth cancer are caught and treated early, the chances of a cure are good. This is why it’s especially important to visit a dentist regularly, so that they can spot any of the early signs before it’s too late. 

What can I do to prevent mouth cancer? 

There are many steps you can take to keep your mouth and body healthy, and in return, reduce the risk of mouth cancer: 

  • Take good care of your teeth and gums every day, and follow the advice your dental team give you. 
  • Attend regular appointments and let your dental team know about any changes in your mouth.
  • Cutting down on smoking and drinking, or giving them up completely will substantially lower your risk of mouth cancer. 
  • If you know you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure to wear a high factor sun cream and use a sun-protecting balm on your lips. 
  • A diet rich in Vitamins A, C and E can also provide protection against the risk of mouth cancer, along with plenty of fruit and vegetables. 
  • Lifestyle choices such as multiple sexual partners may increase your risk of being exposed to the human papilloma virus (HPV), which has been linked to mouth cancer.


*Oral Health Foundation 2017

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