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“We are thrilled to award the Heads Up a £1000 grant to celebrate the incredible work they do.”

Founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Dr Vinod Joshi


Today, one of the country’s mouth cancer charities, the Mouth Cancer Foundation awards ‘Heads Up’ based in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton with a grant of £1,000. The support group won the Silver Prize in the Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group which this year was sponsored by Irwin Mitchell LLP.

Heads Up is run by two clinical nurse specialists and a Patient Representative on the West Midlands regional Head & Neck Cancer Expert Advisory Group. They meet once a month to discuss problems and offer mutual support. The group aims to ease eating difficulties experienced by patients and has introduced restaurant cards which they can use in restaurants in the Wolverhampton area.

The Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group Awards are designed to reward the incredible work that support groups across the country carry out on a daily basis. The Awards recognise the support group leaders and healthcare professionals, who give up their spare time to support and work closely with people affected by head and neck cancers.

Support groups have become a place of solitude for mouth cancer sufferers. It is a place where they can share their experiences and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It is also a place where carers, relatives and friends can go for help and advice. The Mouth Cancer Foundation recognizes the impact that they have and how they can help improve a patient’s quality of life. In order to show their appreciation, the Mouth Cancer Foundation is rewarding organization with innovative and unique support services by giving awards of up to £3,000*.

Robin Comley, one of the Heads Up leaders says “We are delighted to have won the Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group Awards for two reasons. Firstly, the problems of mouth cancer patients trying to live a normal life are not well known and we have had a mixed response in getting restaurants to assist with suitably adapting their meals. Secondly, the provision of support is not widely advertised and because it is a relatively rare form of cancer, patients can feel isolated and alone after treatment. We intend to use the prize to produce professionally printed restaurant cards which I also hope to make available to neighbouring groups.”

The Founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Dr Vinod Joshi says “The applications we received were of a very high standard for this year’s Support Group Awards. To be able to recognise and reward these organisations and the work that they do, caring and supporting people with head and neck cancer is incredibly important. The judges were looking for evidence that the support group offers the opportunity to communicate experiences, improves patient services and tackles the consequences of head and neck cancer treatments We felt that Heads Up embodied all of these qualities and therefore decided to award them the Silver Award.”

Charlotte Cook from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors LLP says “We are delighted to support the Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group Awards for the first time.  We understand the many challenges mouth cancer patients may face, through the cases we handle on behalf of our clients.  We are delighted that our contribution will go towards the development of restaurant cards, to assist patients, which has been developed by the Heads Up support group.  We believe that the cards will make a real difference to the lives of many mouth cancer patients.”

For more information on the Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group Awards visit


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Mouth Cancer Foundation Support Group Awards

*Prize values will be awarded as follows:

Gold Support Award - £1500

Silver Support Award - £1000 sponsored by Irwin Mitchell LLP

Bronze Support Award - £500

Terms and conditions apply.  The judge’s decision is final.

The Mouth Cancer Foundation –

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

The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a charity solely dedicated to supporting people affected by head and neck cancer.  The charity’s online and telephone support service has given head and neck cancer patients and families the opportunity to articulate the consequences of their cancer journey and communicate their shared experiences. It is vital that the charity continues to provide free accessible information resources and ensure Mouth Cancer Foundation support is provided to those that need them.   

About Mouth Cancer

  • Around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade.
  • In the UK, 7,700 people were diagnosed with Mouth Cancer in 2011. 
  • Tobacco use is still considered the main cause of mouth cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, up to half of current smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness – including mouth cancer.
  • Drinking to excess can increase the risk of mouth cancer by four times.  Those who smoke and drink are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
  • Mouth cancer is twice more common in men than in women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease.
  • Age is another factor, with people over the age of 40 more likely to be diagnosed, though more young people are now being affected than previously.
  • Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases.
  • Experts suggest the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), transmitted through oral sex, could overtake tobacco and alcohol as the main risk factor within the coming decade.
  • 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.

Symptoms include:

  • An ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks.
  • A lump or swelling anywhere in the mouth, jaw or neck that persists for more than 3 weeks.
  • A difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • A numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than 6 weeks.
  •   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


Irwin Mitchell LLP –

About Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. There are offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester (consulting office), London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield with new offices in Cambridge and Southampton in 2014. Irwin Mitchell also completed the acquisition of Specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors in November 2013.

Irwin Mitchell is the leading medical negligence team in the country and has a specialist dental claims group to support people affected by these issues.  The firm is consistently involved in many of the most important personal legal services cases on behalf of its clients and the independent Legal 500 2013 UK report ranks Irwin Mitchell as number one for Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Travel Personal Injury, Product Liability, Family, Court of Protection and the Public Law. The firm also has over 65 lawyers recognised as leaders in their field in the Chambers UK Guide 2014.

In 2012, Irwin Mitchell became one of the first companies to be approved as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS), allowing us to plan for growth and take advantage of the opportunities created by the changing legal landscape.

Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP is a separate Scottish legal practice regulated by the Law Society of Scotland and has an office in Glasgow.

For more information visit


File Support Group Awards PR- Silver Award.docx