It has been confirmed that 12 cases of mouth cancer were discovered on the second annual Mouth Cancer Awareness Day held last year.
The Irish Dental Association estimates that 10,000 people availed of free mouth cancer examinations carried out by 700 participating dentists countrywide and at the Cork and Dublin Dental University Hospitals on the 21st of September.
As a result of the examinations 83 individuals were referred for urgent examinations with 12 of these being confirmed as cases of mouth cancer.
Two hundred and eighty six people were advised to attend their GP for issues such as hoarseness, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and weight loss, while almost two thousand people (1,916) were advised to attend their dentist for dental care and smoking cessation advice.
A detailed breakdown of the findings have been published in the latest edition of the Journal of the Irish Dental Association.
Mouth Cancer Awareness Day (MCAD) was initiated by a group of mouth, head and neck cancer survivors in September 2010. On that occasion over 3,000 people received a free mouth cancer exam at Cork and Dublin Dental University Hospitals and five cases of cancer were detected.
MCAD is a joint initiative by the Irish Dental Association, Irish Cancer Society, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Cork Dental University Hospital, the Dental Health Foundation and Mouth, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Ireland.
The President of the IDA, Conor McAlister said the fact twelve cancers were discovered in one day showed the importance of early detection and the need for everyone to have a regular examination.
"Three hundred cases of mouth cancer are detected here each year with 100 deaths and this type of cancer actually kills more Irish people than cervical cancer or skin melanoma. According to the National Cancer Register in Ireland, roughly 50% of all mouth cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage. Hopefully the fact these 12 cases have been caught at an earlier stage means the impact on quality of life will be reduced" McAlister said.
"The second annual Mouth Cancer Awareness Day was a great success and I think great credit is due to Lia Mills and her group for initiating the day itself. I would also like to thank our colleagues in Cork and Dublin Dental University Hospitals and the 700 or so dentists around the country who participated in the initiative. This year we saw up to 10,000 and I hope we can push on from that figure next year and keep the spotlight on this lethal form of the disease."
Research show that smoking and drinking alcohol are the main risk factors and the risk is even greater if a person smokes and drinks. There is also increasing evidence of a link between mouth cancer and the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) which may be transmitted by oral sex.