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News / February 22, 2011

Mouth cancer diagnoses follow free screenings

by Guy Hiscott

Six patients were diagnosed with oral cancer following free oral cancer screening sessions in Cork and Dublin last September.

The screening sessions were part of a campaign to raise awareness of oral cancer and encourage people to watch for early warning signs of the disease.

Screening clinics took place at Dublin Dental School and Hospital and Cork University Dental School.

In Dublin, 1,800 people attended screening sessions and 29 suspicious lesions were found. These patients were referred for a biopsy and three cases of early oral cancer and two cases of established oral cancer were diagnosed.

In Cork, of the 1,393 people who attended screening sessions, 49 people were referred for a biopsy and one case of cancer was diagnosed.

A further person, unable to remain in the queue on the day of the Dublin event, later went to his GP and was referred back to the Dublin Dental Hospital, at which point oral cancer was diagnosed.

While three Irish people die from oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) every week, early diagnosis and treatment of OPC could result in five-year survival rates of over 80%, versus rates of 10% to 35% for advanced OPC.

Furthermore, while treatment of advanced OPC lesions is often associated with significant physical and psychological hardship, the outcome for early lesions is excellent.

OPC is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, with over 500,000 cases diagnosed each year.