Health professionals from a range of statutory, voluntary and community organisations have joined forces to mark Mouth Cancer Action Month on 27 November 2014 at the Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre, Central Drive, Derry/Londonderry.
Mouth cancer is a general term for cancer of the mouth, including the lip, gums, throat and tongue with the lining of the mouth being the most common site for the cancer. Around 200 people are diagnosed in Northern Ireland each year with more people dying from mouth cancer than from cervical and testicular cancer combined.
Aimed at patients, professionals and public representatives this year’s innovative approach to raising awareness of mouth cancer includes the provision of free oral cancer screening examinations which are available between 10.00 am and 3.30 pm on Thursday 27 November. Members of the public are encouraged to take up this opportunity to have a professional oral health check-up at the modern dental suite at the Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre.
Welcoming the event Mayor of Derry, Brenda Stevenson said “I am delighted that this Focus on Mouth Cancer event is being held in Derry and would encourage the public to come along to the Creggan Healthy Living Centre to take advantage of the free advice and services which are being provided. I welcome this joint working approach between the community, voluntary and statutory sectors in bringing health improvement initiatives in to the heart of our communities.”
In addition to the oral health checks Cancer Focus NI will bring two mobile drop-in units to the Creggan Healthy Living Centre. These units will deliver free health checks and one-to-one cancer awareness sessions directly to the public throughout the day. Other activities include information from the Drink Think initiative who advise on responsible thinking around sensible drinking. Members of the public who wish to find out about the support available for quitting smoking can seek advice from smoking cessation experts and staff from SWEET will provide useful suggestions on a healthy diet. On site dental experts will answer questions on mouth cancer or any aspect of oral health.
Donncha Carolan, Regional Lead on Dental Services, said that it is extremely important that people are aware of the causes and symptoms of mouth cancer, “Mouth cancer is more common in men than women and is rare in people under the age of 40. However, mouth cancer is changing. The gap between men and women is narrowing and it is increasing in younger patients. When mouth cancer is spotted early the chances of a complete cure are good. If cancerous lesions are small, treatment is generally less complicated and much more effective. It is vital therefore that we encourage as many people as possible to take up these oral screening examinations which could ultimately help save lives.”
Focus on Mouth Cancer is a joint initiative between the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency, Cancer Focus NI and the Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre.
For information and useful tips to stop smoking, visit the Public Health Agency’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website at www.want2stop.info and use the online chat service or order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge. Alternatively, you can contact the Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008, text the word ‘Quit’ to 70004, or check out the Want 2 Stop Facebook page.