45 seconds could save your life!

Mouth Cancer Action Month 2017

Each November, the team at Bancroft Dentistry join hundreds of other practices around the country in supporting the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Every year over 1,800 people in the UK lose their battle against mouth cancer. It has become one of the most common cancers, but it is often diagnosed late, therefore survival rates are low. But it needn’t be the case! Self-checking for mouth cancer is easy and quick to do – 45 seconds could save your life!


Your dentist at Bancroft Dentistry will perform a cancer screening at every check-up. For most people that will be six monthly. However, it is good to know what to be on the look-out for yourself, just in case something crops up in between times.

A lot of people don’t realise, but mouth cancer can involve the lips, tongue, cheeks, and the throat. This means checking places other than just inside the mouth, but don’t worry, it’s not complicated! There are just a few simple steps to check yourself out for possible signs of mouth cancer… All you need is your bathroom mirror and clean hands.


Mouth cancer self-check list

  1. Head and neck – Firstly, just have a look at yourself in the mirror. Check to see that both sides of your head and neck look roughly the same; without any swellings, or lumps and bumps which occur just on one side.
  2. Neck – Press with your fingers along the sides and front of your neck to feel for any lumps.
  3. Lips – Use your index finger and thumb to pull down your lower lip, check for any changes in colour. Feel for any texture changes or lumps.
  4. Mouth – Run your finger along the roof of your mouth and the floor of your mouth to check for lumps.
  5. Tongue – Stick out your tongue! Look to see if there are any changes in texture or colour, or any ulcers or swellings. Don’t forget to check the sides and the underside of your tongue as well.
  6. Cheeks – Check your cheeks for dark, red, or white patches, or ulcers. Use your thumb and index finger to squeeze your cheek to feel for any lumps or tender areas


If you do notice anything that seems out of the ordinary, then do book in with your dentist for them to have a look. Usually it will be something harmless, but as the Mouth Cancer Action Month saying goes, ‘If in doubt, get it checked out!’


Jo Norton
Dental Nurse
Bancroft Dentistry

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