Cyprus Mail

Free checks as part of oral cancer awareness campaign

By Annette Chrysostomou
Self-examination is an important tool in detecting oral cancer and can significantly increase chances of survival, is the message of a current information campaign on oral cancer launched by the government.
The ministry of health launched its annual oral cancer information campaign on Monday.
As part of the campaign which runs until December 6, four mobile dental units of the dental services will be at the entrance to the four general hospitals in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, distributing information material on oral cancer and examining members of the public for free.
Some 391 new oral cancer cases were registered in Cyprus between 1998 and 2011, involving cancer of the lip, tongue, mouth, salivary glands and the throat. There were 35 new cases in 2009, 38 in 2010 and 38 in 2011, according to deputy director of the dental services Christakis Tselepos.
“Examine your mouth. Any wound that remains in the mouth for more than ten days requires immediate medical examination by a specialist,” Tselepos stressed on Monday at the start of the campaign.
“Clinically, oral cancer occurs in the form of a white or red plate, as well as a wound or tumour most commonly on and under the tongue,” he explained, adding that “if it is detected at an early stage, the five year survival rate increases from 50 per cent to 80 per cent.”
“The risk of oral cancer increases especially after the age of 40,” Tselepos said, with smoking being main cause of the disease.
The director of the maxillofacial clinic of Nicosia General Hospital George Pantela said the hospital on 20-25 new cases each year with 72 per cent of the cases involving men, mainly aged between 50 and 80.
Early diagnosis is of great importance in improving five year survival rates, he said, stressing that self-examination was crucial.

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