Free mouth cancer checks at 700 dental surgeries


MEMBERS OF the public are being urged to avail of free mouth cancer examinations at 700 dental surgeries and at the Dublin and Cork Dental University Hospitals nationwide tomorrow, on Mouth Cancer Awareness Day.

Some 10,000 people were examined on Mouth Cancer Awareness Day last year and 13 cases of mouth cancer were diagnosed.

This type of cancer now kills more Irish people than cervical or skin cancer, and approximately half of all mouth cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to the National Cancer Registry.

Speaking at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2012, Dr Conor McAlister of the Irish Dental Association said the key to successful treatment was an early diagnosis. The examination was painless and takes less than five minutes.

“Overall less than 50 per cent of patients diagnosed with mouth cancer survive more than five years. There are over 300 incidences of this disease every year with 100 or more deaths.

“That means two Irish people are dying every week from this lethal disease. However, if it’s detected early, the chances of a good outcome are greatly enhanced,” he said.

Wexford mother-of-four Suzanne O’Leary said the five-minute examination she had two years ago probably saved her life.

“The publicity around Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2010 convinced me to get an examination. My dentist referred me immediately to the Dublin Dental Hospital. I was pregnant at the time but once I’d had my baby I was examined again at DDH and two weeks later a large section of my tongue was removed at St James’s Hospital.

“If I hadn’t got it checked out I probably wouldn’t be here today. It’s as simple as that,” she said.

Members of the public can find a list of participating dentists in their area by logging onto