Health / Folk encouraged to keep an eye on oral health

Out and about raising awareness, from left to right: Nikolett Kovacs, Zdenka Mlynarikova, Elizabeth White, Clare Balfour and Angela Hopwood.

NHS Shetland’s oral health team has been busy raising awareness during the national Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Incidences of mouth cancer have increased by 48 per cent in the UK in the last 10 years and it is now one of the fastest growing malignancies in the world.

Unfortunately, due to late diagnosis, the five year survival rate for mouth cancer is only 49 per cent, and it is becoming more common.


During the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month NHS Shetland’s oral health team has been raising awareness of the importance of carrying out regular self-check.

It is also encouraging people to speak to a doctor or dentist as soon as possible if concerned about any of the signs or symptoms:

  • Non-healing ulcers (two to three weeks)
  • Red or white patches anywhere in the mouth or throat
  • Any unexplained lumps or swellings around the mouth, head or neck area

Wednesday (17 November) was Blue Wednesday – a day focused on raising awareness of the issue.

In Shetland the oral health team carried out a ‘Blue Walk for Mouth Cancer’ around Lerwick, talking to members of the public and handing out information on how to carry out a self-check.

Around 60 flyers were distributed and oral health improvement nurse Angela Hopwood said the team was “humbled to hear of some local lived experience of mouth cancer”.

Lerwick Town Hall was also lit up for ‘Blue Wednesday’.

More information on being ‘mouth aware’ can be found here.