Oral Cancer Screening Programme Makes A Difference In Ireland

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Twenty two cases of oral cancer have been diagnosed in Ireland as a result of an oral cancer screening programme, which was introduced in 2010 to raise awareness of the disease and enable people to access free screening tests.

Since the initiative was introduced four years ago, around 20,000 people have been screened.

Eleanor O’Sullivan, dental oncologist, said that there was overwhelming support for the benefits of early detection and treatment in cases of oral cancer and screening is an important means of detecting early warning signs and encouraging people to think about oral cancer. Although this form of cancer is killing more and more people each year, public awareness of the disease remains relatively low and this means that most cases are diagnosed at a late stage.

Dr O’Sullivan said that dentists have a very important role to play in supporting doctors and the health service in general by carrying out routine assessments on all patients. Dentists have the enviable position of seeing patients on a regular basis, even when they’re feeling fit and healthy, and this means that patients can be checked for potential warning signs frequently.

Dr O’Sullivan was speaking ahead of the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, which will run throughout September. On September 17th, Mouth Cancer Awareness Day, staff members and students from Cork University Dental School and Hospital will be working together to screen hundreds of patients. Dr O’Sullivan is heavily involved in the event and is urging as many people as possible to take advantage of the free screening sessions.

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