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Every year, more than 300 cases of mouth cancer (oral cavity and pharynx) are reported in Ireland, according to the Irish Cancer Society (ICS).

While oral cancer has traditionally been more common in men, the ICS reports that this is changing, and the incidence rate of oral cancer in women has increased significantly at a rate of 3% per year.

According to the ICS, while oral cancer primarily affects older people, younger people are now being diagnosed.

 

In the United Kingdom, the incidence of mouth cancer has risen faster than that of any other cancer over the last 25 years, and according to the National Cancer Registry in Ireland, roughly half of all mouth cancers and even fewer pharyngeal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage.

According to the ICS, while it depends on the location of the cancer, more than half of those with oral cancer who receive treatment will have good survival outcomes, and this is improving year after year.

 

Early detection of oral cancer improves survival rates significantly, which is why oral cancer awareness day is so important.

 

Dentists play an important role in the early detection and prevention of mouth cancer by identifying patients who are at risk for the disease.

Dr. Laura Fee, clinical director at Smile Hub Dental Clinic, said Oral Cancer Awareness Day was a fantastic initiative and she would encourage everyone to visit their dentist for a free screening, especially those who haven’t seen one in a while.

Dr. Fee explained that an oral cancer screening takes only five minutes and that the dentist looks for several things during the check-up. Any lumps or bumps, swellings, ulcers that do not heal, and hardened tissue in the mouth are examples of these.

The oral cancer awareness campaign, which was founded in 2010 by a group of mouth, head, and neck cancer survivors, is now in its sixth year. More than 3,000 people queued outside the Cork and Dublin Dental University Hospitals for a free mouth cancer examination on that occasion.

 

Excessive smoking and drinking, chewing tobacco betel quid or paan, excessive exposure to sunlight or radiation (for lip cancer), a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, and viral infections, such as human papillomavirus, are the main risk factors for oral cancer (HPV). HPV can be transmitted through oral sex.

 

According to Dr. Fee, the combination of excessive smoking and drinking may significantly increase the risk of developing oral cancer.

 

Cases of concern to general dentists will be referred to Dental Hospitals for further treatment.

 

Visit our booking page to schedule your oral cancer screening at Smile Hub Dental Clinic.

Anyone with concerns about mouth cancer can speak confidentially with a specialist nurse by calling the National Cancer Helpline at 1800 200 700.

Visit www.mouthcancerawareness.ie for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get mouth cancer from smoking?

Smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer in the mouth, throat and lungs. Oral Cancer can be found in the mouth at the gums, cheeks, tongue, palate or lips. The risk of developing oral cancer are higher in people that smoke and drink alcohol. It is very important that you come for your regular check ups here at Smile Hub Dental Clinic if you are a smoker as we always do a free oral cancer screening.

Why is smoking bad for oral health?

Smoking is the leading cause for oral cancer but can also be a large factor in periodontal disease. The tobacco in smoke can lead to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream which means that a person with a gum infection or gum disease cannot heal. Periodontal disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults.

Does Mouth cancer spread fast?

A lot of Oral Cancers are a type called squamous cell carcinoma which usually spread very fast. Smoking and drinking alcohol heavily are the leading causes of oral cancer and can also lead to the cancer spreading faster.

Can you get mouth cancer without smoking?

Mouth cancer can occur in anyone but the risk of oral cancer is a lot higher in people who smoke. If you drink a lot of alcohol but don’t smoke, your risk of oral cancer can still be high. HPV is a virus that can increase your risk of oral cancer too.

What are the symptoms of Oral Cancer?

  • An ulcer in the mouth or on the lip that does not disappear after 10 days or particularly if the ulcer causes no pain
  • A white patch in the mouth
  • A red patch in the mouth
  • swelling in the oral cavity
  • Suddenly dentures are no longer fitting correctly

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