Mouth Cancer campaign to raise awareness in Lothian

Dental and oral health experts will gather in Edinburgh this weekend as part of the campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

The “Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer” campaign has been set up to provide information and support to tackle the oral disease, which is increasing in the UK. The main goal of the campaign is to improve survival through early diagnosis of disease.

The team is hoping to raise awareness among festival-goers, holiday makers and locals this weekend as they enjoy sunshine on the Meadows.

They will offer a 24 hours screening service from a marquee in the park from midday on August 9th. The marquee will be located on middle meadow walk, in the meadows park, Edinburgh.

NHS postgraduate trainees at the Edinburgh Dental Institute will deliver oral health messages at various sites in Edinburgh and use social media and their website to make sure they get their point across.

The campaign is a collaborative project between NHS Lothian and Edinburgh University and will urge people 'If in doubt, check it out’.

One of the main events will be free mouth screening, carried out by qualified clinicians from Edinburgh Dental Institute.

At the same time a daring duo will also take to the streets of the city on a tandem bike for a full 24 hours to raise awareness of the event.
Professor Victor Lopes, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, NHS Lothian, said: “Early detection and timely treatment of mouth cancer is vital and can lead to a significantly improved survival rate.
 “It cannot be stressed enough - the earlier a cancer is detected, the better the treatment options and outcome.
“Remember, most mouth conditions are not cancerous. If you are in any doubt, check it out with a dentist, doctor or pharmacist or come along to the Meadows this weekend. Also make sure you have regular dental checks and look after your health.”


Mouth cancer affects all age groups – with a significant rise among people under 45 years – and there are now more cases of mouth cancer in the UK each year than cases of cervical cancer in women and testicular cancer in men put together. 

The campaign has important messages for people of all ages, but organisers are keen to target specific groups, including young people and people from ethnic minorities.


​Common risk factors include:

  • Regular high alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. World-wide, HPV is the most widespread sexually transmitted virus
  • Poor diet
  • Poor oral hygiene.

 People who combine smoking and regular high alcohol intake increase by 40 times their risk of developing mouth cancer. But some younger patients with the disease have none of these risk factors, which is why it’s important to check regularly for signs of mouth cancer.

 Signs to look out for include:

  • Oral lumps that grow
  • Oral ulcers that do not heal after two weeks
  • Red, white or mixed patches in the mouth
  • Persistent soreness in the mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Lump in your neck.