Interviews Available:    Mouth Cancer Foundation Consultant – Elizabeth Laverack

                                      Illume – Clare Pollard

To set up an interview and for more information please call Media Ambitions on + 44 (0) 208 940 2222 or email

Today, Illume based in Cheltenham, is announced as the Mouth Cancer Foundation’s ‘Practice of the Month’ for February.   The team has proven they go above and beyond to implement the charity’s Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme* so was chosen from all dental practices across the UK who have signed up to the charity’s new scheme.  By joining the scheme the dental practice is placing the onus on their own team to actively prove they are carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer check at routine appointments.

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations, whether they’re based at an NHS, private or mixed practice.  The charity accredits dental practices that meet the criteria. 

Illume’s Clare Pollard outlines how Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme has inspired her team to raise public awareness of mouth cancer.

Practice Name:            Illume

Practice Address:        3A Queens Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2LR

Size of Practice:           Team of 14 including 3 dentists, 3 hygienists and a visiting specialist

Practice website:

Scheme Lead:              Clare Pollard

Tell Us about Your Practice

Illume is a four surgery dental practice in Cheltenham, with disabled access built in 1972.  Many of our clients have been with us for the 26 years that Tim Rumney, our Clinical Director has owned the practice and many predate 1987. We put the well-being of our clients at the centre of everything that we do and have a team committed to providing excellent customer care. We focus on building long standing rapport and relationships with our clients built on trust and believe this is one of the main reasons for their loyalty towards us. We have clinicians with a broad skill set which means it is rare that we refer outside Illume.

What attracted you to the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme?

At Illume we have always checked people for Mouth Cancer. Tim has been in general practice since 1985 and has seen at first hand the devastation caused by Mouth Cancer. Over those years he has referred many suspect areas and a handful of those cases have turned out to be Mouth Cancer, showing him that early detection is paramount. The relatively low frequency of Mouth Cancer is outweighed by the huge consequences. Early detection has meant that the majority of our referred clients have lived for many years after diagnosis. He remembers one case of an elderly lady who came to us too late. Like many full denture wearers she didn’t attend regularly. By the time she came to see us the lump was too far advanced and she died shortly after diagnosis. That case, and the ones that have survived, have really brought home the importance of early detection.

How has the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helped Illume reach best practice standards in the management of mouth cancer in general practice?

We feel it is important not only to screen for Mouth Cancer, but to make it clear that we are screening for it and joining the mouth cancer screening accreditation scheme has increased our focus to ensure that our clients are in no doubt that they are screened at each Healthy Mouth Review appointment. As dentists we are unique amongst health professionals in that we positively encourage regular attendance. And we are best placed to recognise both when the mouth is healthy and potentially when it is not. This opportunistic screening means we are much more likely to be referring suspected lesions rapidly to the appropriate Specialists and at an early stage. We are then also well positioned to help with the continuing rehabilitation and support of clients who often undergo quite debilitating but lifesaving surgery.

What benefits has Illume seen for the team, patients and wider community since introducing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme into practice?

We are relatively new members of the mouth cancer screening accreditation scheme, however we believe this means that we are making a very clear statement about

  • raising awareness of Mouth Cancer and its early detection
  • helping people understand the risk factors and how to modify their lifestyles to help prevent it
  • ensuring potential sufferers are referred quickly
  • supporting them after diagnosis and treatment
  • getting the message beyond our own practice to the wider community

All these points can only be of benefit and provide greater reassurance to both our longstanding clients and the wider community who drop in on open days and evenings for a free no strings attached mouth cancer screening, The benefit to our team is that all have now completed on line CPD and non-clinical team members in particular have a much greater understanding of mouth cancer and are better placed to answer any queries they may receive by phone or in our reception.

What the Team thinks about the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme

“As a dental nurse I’ve seen how the Mouth Cancer screening heightens awareness without scaring clients. Tim handles it in a very sensitive way and this often leads to further questioning from our clients and they realise that it’s a really important part of their Healthy Mouth Review.” 

Alice Titcomb, Dental Nurse

“I’m a non-clinical member of the team and my knowledge has greatly increased after completing all the CPD necessary to become an accredited practice. I knew the broad headlines before but now feel so much more confident and better positioned to answer questions our clients have.” 

Alison Rumney, Non Clinical Director

What the Patients Say about Illume

“All our family use Illume, we love the attention to detail, the surroundings and most of all the people…and we drive miles to get there.”

Mr N. R. Herefordshire

Have Your Say

If you are a dental practice and would like to feature as our practice of the month or have something to say about our scheme, please contact us.

The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme is open to any dental practice whose clinicians are registered with the GDC.  For more information or to join please contact the Mouth Cancer Foundation via or call +44 (0) 1924 950 950 for more information.


For general press enquiries, please contact:

Elizabeth Ayto Laverack or Izabela Nair

Media Ambitions - +44 208 940 2222


The Mouth Cancer Foundation –

The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a registered charity no. 1109298.

* The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helps dentists to know what they are looking for and how to check and refer patients.  This will allow head and neck cancers to be caught earlier.  Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late.  Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required.  With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs on the NHS will reduce dramatically. 

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations. 

Full membership includes access to a dedicated section of the charity website and FREE 1 hour CPD element as well as professional development and training modules suitable for all members of the practice team to ensure regular screening benefits practice patients.

In the UK, nearly 8000 people are diagnosed with Mouth Cancer every year.  Cancers can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, and adjacent areas like the throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus, and other sites in the head and neck area. In its very early stages, these Mouth Cancers can be easy to ignore.  Symptoms include:

1. An ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks

2. A lump or swelling anywhere in the mouth, jaw or neck that persists for more than 3 weeks

3. A difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue

5. A numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth

6. A feeling that something is caught in the throat

7. A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than 6 weeks

8. An unexplained loosening of teeth with no dental cause

More information about Mouth Cancer is available at the Mouth Cancer Foundation web site or by emailing


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