Free Mouth Cancer Screening Available Across Ireland

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Seven hundred dental practices are offering free oral cancer screening on Wednesday to celebrate Mouth Cancer Awareness Day.

In addition to dental practices across the country offering screening, checks will also be available free of charge at Dublin and Cork University Hospitals. Last year more than ten thousand people had checks and 13 cases of mouth cancer were diagnosed.

According to the National Cancer Registry, mouth cancer kills more people in Ireland than skin cancer and cervical cancer; however, many people are still unaware of the symptoms and risk factors and half of cases are not diagnosed until an advanced stage when the chance of survival is lower.

Dr Conor McAlister, from the Irish Dental Association, spoke at the launch of this year’s Mouth Cancer Awareness Day, urging as many people as possible to spend a few minutes getting checked out. Many cases of oral cancer are not diagnosed until an advanced stage, which means that treatment is less likely to be successful and dentists are eager to encourage people to attend regular check-ups and screening tests to allow them to identify the early warning signs. Early diagnosis and treatment can increase the chance of survival by up to 90 per cent.

Dr McAlister said that it was important that more cases are identified and treated in the early stages. At the moment 2 people are dying from oral cancer every week in Ireland and 50 per cent of people who are diagnosed with the disease do not survive for five years. Early diagnosis could help to improve these figures significantly and Mouth Cancer Awareness Day is a great way of informing people about mouth cancer and encouraging them to have a quick screening test.

Suzanne O’Leary, a mother of four from Wexford, said that the screening test she had two year’s ago almost certainly saved her life. The adverts and campaigning for Mouth Cancer Awareness Day prompted her to have a test and she was referred by her dentist to Dublin Dental Hospital; at the time Suzanne was pregnant but she had surgery to remove part of her tongue after having her baby. Suzanne is urging everyone to make the most of the free screening checks across the country.



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