Oral Cancer Toolkit

Improve your ability to prevent and detect oral cancer

Patient case studies

These case studies aim to improve your ability to diagnose and manage oral cancer.

Jim's story

Jim, a 62-year-old lorry driver, presented to his GP after noticing an increasingly painful mass on his tongue. He had not been to a dentist in over 20 years and has poor dental health.

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Owen's story

Owen, a 49-year-old architect, noticed a painless lump in the right side of his neck. He has previously seen a dentist who did not examine the neck, and a partner in the GP practice who suspected an inflamed lymph node and prescribed antibiotics 6 weeks ago.

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Eleanor's story

Eleanor, a 55-year-old carer, changed her dentist due to the retirement of her previous one. The new dentist noticed a 2x3 cm regular white patch on the lateral border of the tongue.

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The images are for illustrative purposes only and the people shown are models.


Cancer Research UK would like to acknowledge the following clinicians for their invaluable input into the development of the Oral Cancer Toolkit: Professor Richard Shaw, Professor Peter Brennan, Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya, Dr Afsana Safa, Mr Craig Wales, Professor Mark McGurk, Professor Crispian Scully, Dr Nigel Carter, Dr Bijay Rajlawat and Dr Caroline McCarthy.

Medical knowledge and the legislative framework are constantly changing. As new information becomes available changes in treatment, procedures, equipment and the use of drugs is necessary. The authors and editors have, as far as it is possible, taken care to ensure that the information given in this module is accurate and up to date at the time it was created. However, users are strongly advised to confirm that the information complies with current legislation and standards of practice.

Date of preparation: October 2018

Oral cancer risk factors

Some of the risk factors associated with oral cancer include:

  • age
  • tobacco use (smoking and chewing)
  • betel quid (areca nut) use
  • alcohol consumption
  • human papillomavirus infection

What do you think?

Your comments will help to improve this toolkit.