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News / September 19, 2017

Mouth cancer rates rising for homeless

by Guy Hiscott

The homeless are facing increased risks of mouth cancer, warn dentists.

Two people are dying each week from the disease, with the homeless the most vulnerable.

‘A lot of people say the lives of homeless people are chaotic but the reality is that life on the streets imposes chaos on them,’ Professor lánaid Daly, who previously established a community dental service department for homeless people in London, told The Belfast Telegraph.

She continued: ‘If you are on the streets, where do you keep a toothbrush, toothpaste? What are you eating?’

Professor Daly added that most will also face issues such as addiction, substance abuse and mental health issues.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day

This year’s Mouth Cancer Awareness Day (MCAD), an initiative started by the Irish Dental Association (IDA), will focus on the homelessness and socially excluded groups.

MCAD will take place on Wednesday 20 September this year, with many dental practices offering free mouth cancer examinations across the country.

Dentists are also offering free exams to homeless organisations, including Galway Simon Community, according to the IDA’s Twitter page.

Dr Conor Allister of the IDA commented: ‘We are seeing an increase in the incidence of this disease and seeing it in younger people. It’s not just smokers and drinkers. Whatever the cause, the key point to remember is that early detection saves lives.’

To find out more about Mouth Cancer Awareness Day and to get involved, visit