Mouth cancer: your health in the workplace

To mark the start of Mouth Cancer Action Month, healthcare provider Simplyhealth and the British Dental Health Foundation have launched a new occupational health sheet to help raise awareness of mouth cancer.

A survey carried out by the Foundation revealed 93 per cent of employers do not give occupational health information on the importance of maintaining good oral health. The guide, packed with information about the risk factors and symptoms of the disease, will be freely available for download from 1 November.

Latest figures show that more than 6,000 new cases a year are diagnosed in the UK, and one person dies every five hours from the disease. In fact, more people die from mouth cancer than from cervical and testicular cancer combined.

It is hoped the guide will help to fill a gap in knowledge, as recent data shows a significant number of people are still unaware of the risks posed by their lifestyle habits. Tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and the human papilloma virus (HPV) are all associated risk factors.

More than one in three people would consider changing their habits if they had a better understanding of the severity and statistics, and Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, welcomed the introduction of the health sheet.

Dr Carter said: "It is clear from the recent Mouth Cancer Action Month survey that not enough people are aware of the disease, its risk factors and what they should do if they spot any of the symptoms.
"By introducing the occupational health sheet, we hope more people will learn about the disease and take their lifestyle habits into consideration.

"It is estimated that sick days cost the economy around £32bn every year. By moving to educate on these issues, together we can lower the growing number of cases that are being diagnosed every year."
Howard Hughes, spokesperson for Simplyhealth, adds: "The occupational health sheet is an excellent resource we believe will play a vital role in educating the workforce about mouth cancer.

"If we can educate a significant proportion of the UK's workforce on the risk factors and what to look out for, early detection, a practice that can transform five year survival rates, is made all the more possible."
To download a copy of the occupational health sheet, please visit and


(News Release issued on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation by David Westgarth, PR & Press Officer.  Telephone: 01788 539792. Email:

Editor's notes
1. The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK's leading oral health charity, with a 40-year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health. For more information visit
Please visit the Foundation's Twitter accounts: dentalhealthorg and mouthcancerorg and add our Facebook fan-page: 'British Dental Health Foundation'. You can find more information on mouth cancer at the website

2. Mouth Cancer Action Month is the only UK mouth cancer campaign which is conducted with advice from and supported by the Department of Health and the British Dental Association.
The campaign is supported by Denplan and Simplyhealth and a number of other professional and commercial partners, Smile, The Probe and Dental Update publications.
For further information and FREE Blue Ribbon Badge Appeal kits please register your details at
To make a donation Justtextgiving to MCAM11 £2, £5, £10, or any amount you want, to 70070.

3. About Mouth Cancer
Around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade
Sufferers of the condition include American actor Michael Douglas, and ex England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott
Tobacco use is still considered the main cause of mouth cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, up to half of current smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness - including mouth cancer
Drinking to excess can increase the risk of mouth cancer by four times.  Those who smoke and drink are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer
Mouth cancer is twice more common in men than in women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease
Age is another factor, with people over the age of 40 more likely to be diagnosed, though more young people are now being affected than previously
Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases, and experts suggest the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), transmitted through oral sex, could overtake tobacco and alcohol as the main risk factor within the coming decade

4. About Simplyhealth:
Simplyhealth has been providing healthcare solutions for 140 years, dedicated to serving its customers through a variety of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, healthcare trusts and mobility and living aids. Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. For more information about Simplyhealth, please visit, or visit or follow on Twitter
5. Research conducted on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation by Atomik Research, October 2012. Sample size: 2,044.

The information contained in these articles is intended to be for general interest, and should not be relied upon for specific conditions or complaints. You should always consult your GP or other healthcare practitioner for specific advice. The information provided is not the opinion of Simplyhealth and has been sourced through a third party.