More than 470 new cases of oral cancer were recorded over a 15 year period, the state health services said on Tuesday, as they launched a campaign to prevent the disease.
According to an announcement, 472 new cases of cancer involving the lips, tongue, mouth, salivary glands and the oropharynx were recorded in Cyprus between 1998 and 2013.
It added that recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that in 2012 the European Union recorded more than 73,000 new cases of oral cancer and 28,213 deaths.
The risk of oral cancer increases particularly after the age of 40, the announcement said, while the main predisposing factor is smoking.
The symptoms are usually areas of red or white lesions in the mouth or lips and a wound or tumor usually on the tongue or the floor of the mouth, it said.
The importance of prevention and early detection of oral cancer, it said, is shown by WHO’s data that indicate that with the adoption of proper prevention strategies, new cases of oral cancer can be reduced by 30 per cent.
It also showed that if oral cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate increases from 50 per cent to 80 per cent.
As part of the campaign, running for the fourth consecutive year in cooperation with the Nicosia general hospital’s clinic for oral and maxillofacial surgery, on Thursday members of the public can have a free examination at the mobile dental units that will be located outside the Nicosia, Limassol, and Paphos hospitals and Larnaca’s old hospital.
Throughout the campaign, which runs until December 11, all dental clinics operating in public hospitals will distribute informative material regarding oral cancer in cooperation with the Cyprus Dental Association. Private practice dentists will also offer free oral cancer checks by appointment.