Mouth, Head & Neck Cancer

National Mouth Cancer Awareness Day

‌National Mouth Cancer Awareness Day takes place on Wednesday 18th September 2013.  The aim of the event is to raise public and professional awareness of Mouth, Head & Neck Cancer, to inform people of the risk factors and warning signs of the disease and to remind them of the importance of regular dental check-ups.

All over the country, participating General Dental Practitioners will again be offering free mouth cancer examinations and advice on how people can reduce the risk of developing this disease.


The Cork University Dental School & Hospital will also be offering free screening on that day by appointment only.  The phone number to make appointments is (021) 4901169. This dedicated line will be answered from 10-2pm from 11th – 17th September (exc. weekend).

Importance of Mouth Cancer Examination

Many mouth, head and neck cancers could be detected at an early stage by a simple, painless mouth cancer screening examination which is an important part of a routine dental check-up.

Dental professionals have a crucial role to play in the prevention and early detection of oral cancer as they are currently the only primary healthcare professionals trained in oral examination.

‌Research suggests avoidance of tobacco and moderation in alcohol intake can reduce the risk of Mouth, Head & Neck Cancer by up to 90%. Dental professionals will have an opportunity to deliver advice on smoking cessation and alcohol moderation due to the significant impact of these substances on oral healthand general wellbeing and the strong scientific evidence linking Mouth, Head & Neck Cancer with these substances.‌

Background to MCAD 2012

In 2010, staff from the Cork University Dental School & Hospital (CUDSH) and Dublin Dental School & Hospital (DDSH) joined forces with the Dental Health Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society and Head & Neck Cancer (HNC) survivors to raise the profile of this disease.

Mouth, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Ireland was formed and this collaboration resulted in the production of a new information leaflet which was launched at the first National MHNC Awareness Day on 29th September, 2010.

‌Public interest in this event was absolutely overwhelming as almost 3,000 individuals attended the two dental schools on the day to receive free oral cancer examinations. Six people were diagnosed with tongue cancer and 16 dysplastic lesions were detected.

In 2011, the Irish Dental Association joined the campaign. 70% of general dental practitioners nationwide took part in the second MHNC Day on September 27th, 2011. Estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 people availed of the free mouth cancer examination in the CUDSH, DDSH and participating dentists around the country.

Thirteen cases of oral cancer were detected and appropriate therapy instigated. For those people, MCAD was a potentially life-saving experience.

This year, dental professionals around the country are being asked to raise the profile of HNC by participating in the third Mouth Cancer Awareness Day on 19th September.

‌This event has the support of:

  • The Irish Cancer Society
  • Irish Dental Association
  • Irish Dental Health Foundation‌
  • Both Dental Schools

The Irish Pharmacy Union have also offered their full support for the campaign and pharmacies nationwide will be offering advice on life style modification, warning signs and directing people to participating dentists.

Signs & Symptoms of Head & Neck Cancer

  • Persistent Ulcer / non-healing sore.
  • Persistent red / white or speckled area
  • Pigmented lump or area
  • Unexplained dental changes/pain
  • Unexplained numbness / Trismus
  • Persistent bleeding or pain
  • Persistent bleeding or pain
  • Neck mass / lump
  • Swallowing difficulty – Dysphagia
  • Unilateral sore throat
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Speech changes – hoarseness‌

Resources for Smoking Cessation and HNC Information

Cork University Dental School & Hospital

Wilton, Cork, Ireland