Irish Dentists to offer free Screening for Oral Cancer

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The President of the Irish Dental Association has announced that dentists across the country will offer free screening sessions for oral cancer this autumn.

The screening sessions will be part of a national drive to raise awareness of oral cancer and encourage people to attend regular dental examinations to ensure that cases of oral cancer are identified and treated early.

Speaking at the IDA’s annual conference, Dr Conor McAlister, said that oral cancer was a real problem; every week two people in the Republic of Ireland die from oral cancer. Oral cancer is more prevalent than skin cancer and cervical cancer, yet many people are unaware of the symptoms and causes and as a result of this, they do not visit their dentist or doctor until the symptoms are very advanced; if oral cancer is diagnosed early, survival rates are up to 90 percent higher. Dentists are aiming to raise the profile of oral cancer so that people are aware of the disease and can keep an eye on their mouth for developing symptoms.

Recently there has been an increase in the number of cases of oral cancer amongst young men and women. If the disease is caught early it can be treated; however, survival rates are low if the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Dentists are urging patients to look out for symptoms of oral cancer, which include abnormal swellings or lumps in the throat, discoloured patches in the mouth and sores which take a long time to heal.

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