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Launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2012

(19 Sep 2012)

LAUNCH OF MOUTH CANCER AWARENESS DAY 2012 - WEDNESDAY 19th SEPTEMBER

LUCKY 13 – THIRTEEN PEOPLE FOUND TO HAVE CANCERS ON MOUTH CANCER AWARENESS DAY LAST YEAR

‘FIVE MINUTE EXAMINATION SAVED MY LIFE’ SUZANNE O’LEARY WHOSE CANCER WAS DISCOVERED IN 2010

FREE MOUTH CANCER EXAMINATIONS AT 700 DENTAL SURGERIES NATIONWIDE ON WEDNESDAY 19th SEPTEMBER

A mouth cancer survivor who was diagnosed with the disease following Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2010 has urged people to avail of free examinations next week.

Suzanne O’Leary mother of four who lives in Gorey Co Wexford said the five minute examination 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. I would urge as many people as possible to have the free examination next week” Suzanne said.

Free mouth cancer examinations will be available to members of the public at over 700 participating dental surgeries countrywide and at the Cork Dental University Hospitals on Mouth Cancer Awareness Day, Wednesday 19th September 2012. It’s the third year of the campaign to highlight mouth cancer.

Three hundred cases of mouth cancer are detected in Ireland each year and this type of cancer now kills more Irish people than cervical cancer or skin melanoma.

Around ten thousand people were examined on MCAD last year and thirteen cases of mouth cancer were discovered.

According to the National Cancer Register in Ireland, approximately 50% of all mouth cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage. This can result in more complex treatment with a greater impact on quality of life and overall survival.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day was initiated by a group of mouth, head and neck cancer survivors in September 2010. On that occasion, over 3,000 people queued outside the Cork and Dublin Dental University Hospitals for a free mouth cancer examination. Six cases of cancer were detected on the day.

Last year the Irish Dental Association gave its full support to the initiative and will be doing so again this year with up to 700 dentists nationwide offering a free mouth cancer examination to members of the public.

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 2012, Dr Conor McAlister from the Irish Dental Association, said the key to successful treatment was an early diagnosis.

“Overall less than 50% 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 detected early, the chances of a good outcome are greatly enhanced” he said.

Dr McAlister, said that because up to 700 dentists nationwide were once again participating in this year’s initiative, he hoped many more people would be examined.

"Due to the support of the two main dental hospitals in Dublin and Cork and dentists all round the country we examined 10,000 people last year. We are hoping to push on from that figure again this year. We also welcome the support of the Irish Pharmacy Union for this year’s event. One thousand five hundred pharmacies around the country are promoting the event locally. I would encourage everyone to attend their local participating dentist on the day, Wednesday 19th September for their free mouth cancer examination. It’s painless and takes less than 5 minutes” Dr McAlister said.

Dr Eleanor O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Mouth Cancer Awareness Group and of Cork University Dental School and Hospital pointed out that oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer for men in Ireland and the incidence of the disease among women is increasing.

“This disease doesn’t get as much attention as other cancers but it is very important that people become aware of the risk factors. Raising awareness is what MCAD is all about. But many people will also have to take the next stop and make necessary lifestyle changes if required” Dr O’Sullivan said.

Members of the public can find a list of participating dentists in their area by logging on to www.mouthcancerawareness.ie . They can then phone the surgery to find out the exact times examinations are available. Irregular dental attenders are especially welcome on the day.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day 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.

Anyone who has concerns about mouth cancer can speak with a specialist nurse in confidence by calling the National Cancer Helpline on Freephone 1800 200 700.

People will be seen on the day 19th September in Cork Dental Hospital by appointment only. Please call 021-4901169, phone line will be manned from 10-4pm from 12th to 18th September.

For Further Information
Contact Kieran Garry
Gordon MRM
01/6650455 or 087/2368366

Note to Editor

The main risk factors of Mouth Cancer are:

  • Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes or marijuana
  • Chewing smokeless tobacco, betel quid or paan
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Using both tobacco and alcohol together – this greatly increases your risk
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight or radiation
  • A diet lacking in fruit and vegetables