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News / August 28, 2014

Dental exams unearth 22 mouth cancer cases

by Guy Hiscott

Recent free dental examinations in Ireland have unearthed 22 cases of mouth cancer among the public.

The dental examinations are part of an ongoing initiative to increase Irish public awareness of free dental check-ups and good oral health.

This comes following the news that only one in three adults are taking advantage of free dental care benefits, with just 33% visiting their dentist every year.

Dental oncologist Dr Eleanor O’Sullivan carries out oral surgery at the Cork University Dental School, and believes there is ‘irrefutable evidence’ that early detection and treatment ‘significantly improves the prognosis of patients with mouth, head and neck cancer’ (HNC).

She adds: ‘Opportunistic screening [is] a cost-effective means of increasing early detection of appropriate lesions which will undoubtedly save lives.’

Staff and students at Cork University Dental School and Hospital and 700 dental practitioners nationwide will be offering free mouth cancer examinations to the public for Mouth Cancer Awareness Month (September) and Mouth Cancer Awareness Day (17 September).

Dr O’Sullivan, who helps organise the initiative, says: ‘The dental profession has a major role to play in reducing the immense burden of HNC by routinely performing a thorough mouth cancer examination on all our patients.’

Dr O’Sullivan and the staff and students at Cork University Dental School are strongly encouraging the public to take advantage of the free mouth cancer examinations on 17 September.

Those who are interested in attending can reserve an appointment on 021 490 1169, which will be available to call on 11, 12, 15, 16 and 17 September from 10:00 to 14:00.

The day will also offer members of the public advice on ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease.