Mouth Cancer Action Month 2021

Tools to help your dental practice

Published: 28/10/2021

Mouth Cancer Action Month 2021 logo

What is Mouth Cancer Action Month?


Mouth Cancer Action Month (MCAM) is a campaign throughout November run by the Oral Health Foundation each year to raise awareness of mouth cancer, from knowing what signs to look out for, key symptoms, and the rising number of cases in the UK.


For 21 years Denplan has been the lead sponsor of MCAM working closely in partnership with the Oral Health Foundation – and this year is no different. In the UK there are around 8,700 cases of mouth cancer each year.1 For each of these individuals, their lives have changed forever.


Mouth cancer rates continue to rise in the adult population. A five per cent rise in the UK this past year alone and 58 per cent in the last decade (England data).


During the pandemic many cases of mouth cancer have gone undiagnosed due to people being unable to access regular dentistry. The need to raise awareness remains urgent and dental practices are crucially positioned to help change lives. Here is how you can make sure you do your part.

Catherine Rutland Clinical Director at Denplan

Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, said:

“At Denplan, we have always championed the importance of highlighting mouth cancer to patients through our member dentists. This is our 21st year sponsoring the campaign, and the amazing work the Oral Health Foundation do and it seems more important than ever. The lack of access to dentists because of the lockdowns imposed during the pandemic and the resulting dental backlog has undoubtedly adversely reduced the number of people who are presenting with mouth cancer lesions and referred early. Early diagnosis can vastly improve prognosis for patients.


As dental professionals, we have the opportunity to lead conversations on mouth cancer and make sure patients are aware of the risks, signs and symptoms. If we can help people to make positive lifestyle choices, remain vigilant to any changes in their mouth, and seek professional help at the earliest stage, we can help to save lives."

The multidisciplinary webinar series


We’ve launched a brand-new multidisciplinary online conference designed to coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month in November 2021 together with Dental Update and Oral B.


Three linked mouth cancer lectures will be presented by Denplan dentist Andy Thomas, Professor Mike Lewis and maxillo-facial surgeons from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, covering aspects from early detection, to patient assessment and diagnosis to the various management options. Download the full programme and speaker line-up.


Although launched to coincide with Mouth Cancer Action Month in November, the webinars cover a variety of other oral health topics and are free to attend. You can earn verifiable CPD and you can book on the link below.

Signing the new Mouth Cancer Action Charter


As part of this month’s Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign, Denplan and the Oral Health Foundation have launched their Mouth Cancer Action Charter at a face-to-face event in the Houses of Parliament. Members of Parliament, ministers and dental and health professionals have been invited along to sign the Charter and demonstrate their support for its policy recommendations.


The Mouth Cancer Action charter will bring our campaign’s message to the heart of government and improve understanding of the issues amongst those whose decisions impact patients’ lives from a policy standpoint. Results from a recent MP survey indicated that only 27% of MPs felt they were as well informed of the causes and symptoms of mouth cancer as they are of other leading cancers.1


The charter sets out the top policy interventions we believe would be most effective in addressing the increasing rates of mouth cancer.


These include:

  1. Conducting a government funded public health awareness campaign of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.
  2. Improving access to routine dentistry so more oral cancers can be detected at an earlier stage.
  3. 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.
  4. Improving training programmes for healthcare staff to look for signs of mouth cancer.
  5. Introducing free dental check-ups and treatment for mouth cancer patients.
  6. Supporting the development of better technology to diagnose mouth cancers.


As a dental professional you can also show your support and sign the charter here: Signing the new Mouth Cancer Action Charter | Oral Health Foundation (


The full charter can be read below.


1. YouGov completed online interviews with a representative sample of 103 MPs. The survey was completed between 6th and 28th September 2021.

Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation


Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation said:


“We are extremely grateful that we have had a long-standing partnership with Denplan who again this year are a key supporter of Mouth Cancer Action Month. With a joint approach from the dental profession and Denplan’s valuable members and contacts, we’ve been able to expand our campaign further in our political outreach at Westminster. The clinical webinars will also help ensure the profession is supported, and that every patient is checked for signs of the disease, with early diagnosis often leading to a more positive outcome for the patient. Together with Denplan and its members, we look forward to raising even more awareness of the campaign this year and thank them for their support.”

Get involved with Mouth Cancer Action Month


Denplan members can download a variety of practice resources such as practice posters, a campaign toolkit and social media posts from the Simply Select marketing portal. Do use your practice social media outlets to raise awareness of Mouth Cancer with your patients. Throughout November our Denplan social channels will also give you content to share to raise vital awareness of mouth cancer.

References: 1. Oral Health Foundation. The State of Mouth Cancer UK report 2020/21

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