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Open wide to see inside – supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month

Mouth Cancer Action 22

Open wide to see inside is the message the oral health promotion team at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust are sharing this Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Throughout November the team will be raising awareness of mouth cancer and trying to save lives by promoting the values of prevention and early detection.

Julie King Oral Health Promotion Lead at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust explains: "The oral health promotion team are proud to be working together with colleagues from the Trust supporting Mouth Cancer Action Month during November. Demonstrating commitment and passion for raising awareness of mouth cancer is vital to the success of this campaign."

Mouth Cancer Action 22

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

  • A non-healing ulcer that is present in the mouth for more than two weeks
  • A white or red patch on the tongue, palate or on the mouth lining
  • Swellings in the mouth with no obvious cause

Throughout November the team will be hosting information sessions across CDDFT sites and the community dental department will also have display material in their waiting areas. Please come along and meet the team:

  • Wednesday 2 November 10am-3pm Bishop Auckland Hospital inside the restaurant, ground floor
  • Monday 7 November 10am-3pm Sedgefield Community Hospital main entrance
  • Monday 14 November 10am-3pm Darlington Memorial Hospital corridor next to WH Smith
  • Wednesday 16 November 10am-3pm University Hospital of North Durham outside the restaurant second floor
  • Friday 18 November 10am-3pm Shotley Bridge Community Hospital main entrance
  • Tuesday 22 November 10am-3pm Chester-Le-Street Community Hospital main corridor ground floor main entrance

Meet oral team

The team will also have ward based "brief" drop in training sessions taking place as another good reason for staff to ask patients to "open wide to look inside!" because a simple mouth care assessment could have a dramatic impact on the patient recovery.

And the team will also be encouraging people to join in with Blue Wednesday on 16 November by wearing something blue and promoting self-care oral checks.

Ailsa Rutter OBE Director of Fresh and Balance said: "Both tobacco and alcohol are class 1 carcinogens. That means if you drink or smoke your mouth is exposed to chemicals that can damage the DNA in cells and lead to cancer.

"Smoking and drinking alcohol can cause cancers all around the body. But around 1 in 3 mouth cancers are caused by alcohol and 1 in 4 mouth cancers are caused by smoking.  The risks are even higher for people who smoke and drink together. The best approach is to quit smoking and cut down on drinking to reduce the risk."

For tips to cut down on alcohol visit and to find support to quit smoking visit

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital