Mouth Cancer Action Month

The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2020/2021 is the United Kingdom's only comprehensive review into mouth cancer.

The report has been released by the Oral Health Foundation and Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, as part of November's Mouth Cancer Action Month.

The State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2020/21 looks at the very latest statistics for the disease.

This includes new incidence figures, survival rates, where the disease is most likely to appear, as well as trends over time.

The report also looks into the nation's awareness of mouth cancer and how much is known about the risk factors and signs and symptoms of the disease.

Finally, the report covers some key challenges and recommendations for the future. We believe these will have an important impact on the landscape of mouth cancer in the years to come.

A summary of the key findings

  • New cases of mouth cancer in the UK reached 8,772 last year.
  • This has increased by 58% in the last decade and by 97% compared with 20 years' ago.
  • 58% of mouth cancers appear on the tongue and tonsils.
  • Last year, 2,702 Brits lost their life to mouth cancer.
  • The ten-year survival rate is between 18% and 57%, depending on where the cancer strikes and how early it is diagnosed.
  • Almost nine-in-ten (86%) British adults have now heard of mouth cancer. However, awareness on the signs, symptoms and risk factors is poor.
  • Mouth cancer referrals have fallen by 65% since the beginning of lockdown according to one of England's biggest NHS Trusts.
  • Awareness of the major signs and symptoms for mouth cancer are as low as 23%.
  • Awareness on the major risk factors of mouth cancer is as low as 16%.
  • Better lifestyle choices, earlier diagnosis and improved access to dentistry during the pandemic are some of the key challenges in confronting mouth cancer.
  • Calls for more investment in education and national exposure of the disease, as well as an education campaign for the HPV vaccination.   


Sharing mouth cancer awareness social media

By posting messages on social media, you can help us to raise awareness of mouth cancer. 

Your posts can engage others and encourage them to find out more information about the disease.

It is so important that we learn more about the risk factors, signs and symptoms and where to go if you spot anything out of the ordinary. By doing this, we can prevent some cases from happening and improve early diagnosis rates.

  • Long lasting ulcers, red or white patches and unusual lumps and bumps are three common warning signs of mouth cancer. A simple check takes only 45 seconds and could be life-saving #MouthCancerAction #Mouthaware
    • The everyday choices we make can affect our chances of developing mouth cancer. Smoking cigarettes significantly increases your risk of developing the disease. Find out what else increase your risk at #MouthCancerAction #Mouthaware
      • Regular visits to your dental team are so important. Attending appointments as often as they recommend makes it more likely that any problems will be caught as early as possible, including mouth cancer. #MouthCancerAction #Mouthaware
        • Mouth cancer cases are on the rise, but awareness is dangerously low. Take control and learn how to be #mouthaware at #MouthCancerAction
          • The earlier a problem is caught, the easier it tends to be to tackle. Mouth cancer is no exception. The smaller the affected area, the better the chances are of a full recovery. If in doubt, get checked out! #MouthCancerAction #Mouthaware

          Please download and use the infographic below to share along with your post. More graphics can be downloaded from our mouth cancer resources area.

          Useful links: