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Free mouth cancer check-ups during awareness day tomorrow

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day takes place tomorrow.

Image: Mouth check up via Shutterstock

MOUTH CANCER AWARENESS Day is to be marked tomorrow with free check-ups at participating locations around the country.

The day takes place on 18 September and aims to raise awareness of the fact that over 300 cases of cancer of the mouth (oral cavity and pharynx) are detected in Ireland each year.

If detected early, the cancers can be easily treated.

Free examinations

The Cork University Dental School and Hospital is among those who will be hosting the free examinations tomorrow from 9am-4pm.

The day will involve free examinations and information stands providing advice about mouth, head and neck cancer, smoking cessation, oral care and healthy diet.

If you want to get a free check up there, you have to be seen by appointment only, by calling 021 490 1169 between 10am-2pm today. For a full list of people taking part in the free check ups, visit www.mouthcancerawareness.ie.

Symptoms include ulcers that won’t heal, white, red or speckled patches, neck lumps or swellings and difficulty swallowing.

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“Many well-known people have suffered from this disease,” says Dr Eleanor O’Sullivan, Cork University Dental School. “Actor Michael Douglas had it and John Thaw who played Inspector Morse died of it. Ronnie Drew and Alex Higgins also died of the disease.”

Oral cancers are more common in men than in women, but this is changing. The incidence rate of cancer of the mouth in women has increased significantly at a rate of 3 per cent per year since 1994.

According to the National Cancer Registry in Ireland, roughly half of all mouth cancers and even less of cancers of the pharynx are diagnosed at an early stage. This can result in more complex treatment with greater impact on quality of life and overall survival.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Day (MCAD) was established by Mouth Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Ireland to raise tackle the problem of late presentation. It also aims to highlight the importance of having a mouth cancer examination every year, even if you have no remaining natural teeth.

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