How to take part in Blue Wednesday

It is November and, along with bonfire night, that means Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign which, as the name suggests, helps raise awareness of mouth cancer. But even better, smack in the middle of the campaign is Blue Wednesday, which is a fun, positive promotion that encourages everyone to wear blue lips as a visible sign of support for mouth cancer. So, whether you choose cartoon lips in the #BlueLipSelfie app, blue lipstick, or plastic lips, you can helps boost awareness of this disease.

Anybody can take part in the Blue Lip Selfie campaign, male or female, young or old. All you need to do is take a selfie-it can be of just you or you and your family, friends or colleagues, and upload to the official blue lip selfie gallery at You can even customise your selfies on the microsite, with fun blue cartoon lips!

Failing that, you can take a photo of yourself wearing blue lipstick or blue plastic lips and post your pic to the gallery or share on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BlueLipSelfie.

The aim is to use the hashtag #bluelipselfie not only to help raise awareness but also send the campaign viral and encourage others to show their support for mouth cancer. But I have not got blue lipstick I hear you cry! Well, help is at hand because according to the Oral Health Foundation blue is the new red! (Well, for November at least!). So, head to their shop and pick up a Blue Lipstick or/and a pack of Blue Lips. I know times are hard, but they are only £2.50, and they are a terrific way to support a charity and raise awareness of the condition. If lipstick is not your thing, then try their Retro Plastic Lips (like the ones you get in crackers) not only are they a great alternative, but they also mean you can still participate in the campaign!

The Blue Lip promotion also serves as a good reminder for us to encourage our patients to check their lips! It is easy, they just need to follow these steps:

  1. Pull down the lower lip & look for any sores or change in colour
  2. Use their thumb & index finger to feel the lips for lumps or changes in texture.

If they are in doubt about anything they find, then get it checked out & if all is well then a good preventative measure is to slather on some SPF lip balm and protect their lips against the elements. For more information visit

Finally, this is a fantastic opportunity for fundraising so, why not sponsor your friends, family, and colleagues to wear blue lipstick for a day, week or even the whole month? Whatever you decide to do, put on your best blue smile and be part of something huge to get everybody talking not only about mouth cancer but also lip cancer.

About the Author:
Ali Lowe is an award-winning dental hygienist based in Cardiff and has worked in both private & NHS practice as well as the Orthodontic department of Cardiff Dental School. Her interest in helping patients both before and after cancer diagnosis began following enrolment on Victoria Wilsons Smile Revolution course and the development of Fit Lip UK – a campaign aimed at encouraging people to wear SPF lip balm in order to protect their lips, prevent lip cancer & keep their mouth healthy. Ali volunteers for the Mouth Cancer Foundation, has had several articles published in both the dental and public press, is actively involved in the BSDHT and is on the publications committee of Dental Health (the hygienist & therapist journal). Ali is fervent about raising awareness of mouth cancer (in particular lip cancer), its side effects and the importance of continuing care.

Karen Liesching-Schroder’s mouth cancer journey

Karen, 47, was ‘shocked beyond belief’ to be told that a seemingly harmless mouth ulcer on her tongue was actually mouth cancer

Having appeared during the school holidays of 2016 it was not until early February that Karen finally got a biopsy done and her worst fears were realised; it was cancer of the tongue. When asked if she had any idea that it would be cancer, she replied, “I had no idea, I’m a healthy person, I run, don’t smoke, don’t drink much and I eat healthy food.”

A treatment plan for the mother-of-two from Rochford, Essex, was drawn up. She endured what she describes as ‘unbearable agony’ during her course of treatment for the disease and claims going for runs kept her ‘sane.’ Radiotherapy, a neck dissection and gruelling surgery to have the side of her tongue removed simply weren’t enough to keep her from continuing to run with her local club.

Speaking of her determination to remain mentally and physically healthy in the thick of her battle with cancer, Mrs Liesching-Schroder said: “I just needed to run. Control was being taken away from me by cancer and this was one way of getting control back. When it came to the end of radiotherapy, I had the goal that I wanted to run the Southend half-marathon. I was told by clinicians that I wouldn’t be allowed to do it. But nobody could stop me. It’s what’s keeping me going and I have to do this. Running was my way of being free from it all.”

Despite being told that for immediately after her course of radiotherapy finished the side effects of the treatment would be worse, Karen still completed what she claims to be her ‘best run ever.’

“It was all about celebrating life. Being able to do that was really important to me. My running club were all there at the end with high-fives, a massive line of them. It was brilliant. I had unbelievable support all the way through from so many people. I was very lucky.”

Mrs Liesching-Schroder’s life has never been the same following her treatment. Complications including “an aggressive form of oral thrush,” learning to speak properly again and concerns about cancer returning are just some of the obstacles she has faced over the last few years, but nothing has stopped her from running regularly.

“After you’ve had cancer, you see life a bit differently and you feel a bit more alive afterwards. There’s a lot of things out there to enjoy and now I feel I have a second chance at doing just that.”

Years on from her initial diagnosis, she is determined to use her story to help raise awareness of the disease.

“A lot of people think that mouth cancer only happens to smokers, but my story shows that isn’t always the case. If you have worried about an unusual change in your mouth then get it checked out. Don’t be frightened but it’s important that you don’t suffer in silence and to remember that the sooner it’s checked out, the sooner it can be sorted. Chances are it’ll be fine but in the rare case it is not, it could be a life saver.”

For more information about mouth cancer, including how to spot the disease early, how to reduce your risk and what to do if you notice any of the early warning signs, visit