Mobile dental van offers free mouth cancer screening

Dentist Charlotte Lawley is featured on the left, and on the right dental nurse Michaela Board.

Published: 25 October 2018

As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Special Care Dental Service will be travelling around in their mobile dental van, raising awareness of Mouth Cancer and encouraging those most at risk, to drop-in and get a free screening.

People who are not registered with a dentist, or who haven’t seen their dentist recently are encouraged to take the opportunity to visit the mobile dental van for a free mouth cancer screening. Others encouraged to have the screening include anyone worried about symptoms such as: an ulcer that hasn’t healed in three weeks; red/whites patches in the mouth that have not been seen by a dentist, or unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck area.

People who have a higher risk of developing mouth cancer, such as those who smoke, drink heavily, or have the Human Papilloma virus (known as HPV) are also encouraged to take this opportunity to get a free mouth cancer screening.

The sessions with the mobile dental van are free and on a drop-in basis, and will be available from 10am – 3pm (with a break between 12.30pm – 1pm) at the following locations:

  • Thursday 1 November – Paignton, Victoria Street (opposite NatWest)
  • Friday 2 November – Dartmouth, Lidl car park (Townstal)
  • Monday 5 November – Torquay, Lower Union Street (outside H&M)
  • Wednesday 7 November – Newton Abbot, St Leonards Clock Tower.

The mobile dental van in previous years has been very popular, please be aware at busy times, we may need to prioritise people who don’t visit the dentist often.

Sally Lacey, Oral Health Educator for the Special Care Dental Service at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Attending a dentist regularly is not only important for the health and longevity of your teeth, but also as the dentist checks for any signs of cancer. Spotting the symptoms early is really key to the successful treatment of the disease.

“So if you haven’t had a check-up with your dentist recently, showing any of the symptoms, or within the high-risk groups, I would strongly recommend coming along and speaking to our specialists in the mobile dentist van.

“The mouth cancer checks are free and screening for mouth cancer is quick and totally painless. It typically consists of an examination of the tongue, gums, lips, inside cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth. So there’s nothing to fear!”

Mouth Cancer Action Month highlights that more than 6,000 people annually are diagnosed with mouth cancer, half of which will lose their lives to the disease.

It is recommended that you should visit your dentist at intervals recommended by your dentist. This could be, for example, every six, 12 or 24 months. If you are not registered with a dentist, NHS dentist places are available. For details of practices in your local area please contact the Devon Dental Helpline on 03330 063 300, or email