Irish Dental Association issues Mouth Cancer Warning
The Irish Dental Association has issued a warning about the growing prevalence of oral cancer.
More than 400 new cases of the disease are diagnosed every year in Ireland; however, oral cancer has a low media profile and many people are unaware of the causes and symptoms of the disease. As a result of a lack of awareness, many people who have symptoms are not visiting their dentist and their condition is not being diagnosed until the disease is at an advanced stage. If oral cancer is diagnosed early, it can be treated; however, survival rates are low if the disease progresses and spreads to other parts of the body.
Dr Conor McAlister, president of the IDA, said that oral cancer was becoming increasingly common but most people were still unaware of the disease. Mouth cancer kills more people than cervical cancer, yet it has a much lower profile and people may ignore or be unaware of the symptoms as a result.
Dr McAlister addressed dentists at the annual IDA conference, urging them to talk to patients about oral cancer and offer screening sessions. Dentists can literally make the difference between life and death because symptoms can be detected during routine examinations; if patients attend regular check-ups, this will ensure that their condition can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Following the success of last year’s Mouth Cancer Awareness Day in September, Dr McAlister announced that an expanded event will take place later this year and free screening sessions will be offered across the country as the IDA campaign to raise awareness of the disease.
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