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Oral cancer

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.


What is the BDA doing?

We organised 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.

Tackling the high rates of oral cancer in Scotland

Scotland has seen an increase in the incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in the last 30 years and head and neck cancer incidence rates are significantly higher in Scotland than the UK average.


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.


Campaigning for gender-neutral HPV vaccinations 

Alongside HPV Action, we campaigned for an extension of the HPV vaccine programme to include school-aged boys.


We welcomed the Government's announcement in July 2018, that all 12 and 13-year-olds in England will be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV).


Devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland were quick to commit to expansion of their vaccination programmes, which currently just cover 12-13 year old girls, to boys following recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). We still await England to follow suit.


On 11 April the Permanent Secretary of Health in Northern Ireland committed to extending the HPV vaccine to school boys aged 12/13 (school year 9) commencing in September 2019. BDA Northern Ireland continues to lobby for a catch up programme to be extended to older school boys to bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK.


Find out more

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


Resources to help you detect oral cancers

Getting involved: take action!

Each year, we encourage dentists and their teams to take part in the Oral Health Foundation's Mouth Cancer Action Month to raise awareness of mouth cancer with your patients.

We are keen to hear what you are doing to help raise awareness throughout the year, 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 in your practice.

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.