Members are urged to spread awareness

IDA members are again being encouraged to provide free mouth cancer examinations on Mouth Cancer Awareness Day.

Dental practices are being asked to spread awareness by informing patients who attend their practices on Wednesday 21 September about the special day.

Dentists are being reminded to mention risk factors – especially alcohol and tobacco – and reinforce the importance regular dental examinations play in early detection.

There are more than 300 cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx reported in Ireland every year. In Britain, the incidence of mouth cancer has increased faster than any other in the past 25 years. Globally, the disease affects 650,000 people a year and is the sixth most common cancer.

The campaign claims that the problem is not just a rise in cases, but the advanced stage they’re being detected at. Consequently, treatments are more complex, can last longer and affect a patient’s quality of life and survival. Dentists are now being encouraged to play a key role in the early detection and prevention of the disease by identifying those patients who are exposed to risk factors.

If you need leaflets, call the Irish Cancer Society on 1800 200 700. Patients can also be referred to www.mouthcancer awareness.ie