Irish Dental Practices Offer Free Screening for Mouth Cancer Awareness Day
Dental practices across Ireland offered free screening sessions to mark Mouth Cancer Awareness Day on Wednesday 17th September.
Clinics up and down the country encouraged patients to pop in for a free oral cancer screening test as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of oral cancer and inform people about the causes, risk factors and the symptoms to watch out for. Every year in Ireland, around 300 cases are diagnosed.
Despite the rising prevalence of mouth cancer, awareness of the disease remains relatively low and survival rates have not shown significant improvement in recent years due to the fact that most people don’t see a doctor or dentist until the disease is at an advanced stage. Many patients are not aware of the warning signs and this means that many cases are left undiagnosed for a long period of time. Once the disease starts to progress, the chances of successful treatment fall; this is because cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system.
Mouth Cancer Awareness Day is designed to get people talking about mouth cancer and encourage as many people as possible to have a screening test. Screening checks only last a couple of minutes, they are not painful and they really can make the difference between life and death.
As well as offering free screening, dentists were also offering advice and information about oral cancer.
Dr Gillian Smith, from the Irish Dental Association, encouraged people to support the campaign and urged the public to attend regular check-ups and look out for warning signs, which include red or white patches in the mouth, swelling, lumps and mouth ulcers that take longer than 2 weeks to heal.
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