Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ex-Olympic boxer 'floored' by cancer diagnosis

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

Cathal O'Grady was speaking at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day which will take place on September 21. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
Cathal O'Grady was speaking at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day which will take place on September 21. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Former Olympic boxer Cathal O'Grady knows the most dangerous punch is the one you don't see coming.

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It's how he described the shock of being told he had mouth cancer in May this year, despite feeling fit and well.

The Kildare native, who represented Ireland in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, only discovered he had the illness by chance.

His vigilant dentist Laurena Candon, in Kilcock spotted a lump at the back of his palate and urged him to have it checked. Cathal (39), a father-of-two, said: "I don't drink or smoke and lead an active, healthy lifestyle so I was floored when I got the diagnosis."

He was referred to maxillofacial consultant, Prof Leo Stassen of St James's Hospital, who set him on a treatment plan which included surgery. He is now embarking on a round of radiotherapy. Cathal was speaking at the launch of Mouth Cancer Awareness Day which will take place on September 21.

Free mouth cancer examinations will be available to the public on the day.

There are 300 new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed every year and more than one-in- three are still discovered at a late stage.

A list of participating dentists is available at www.mouth cancerawareness.ie.

Irish Independent

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