Saturday 1 October 2016

Broken tooth led farmer to discovering tumour in his tongue: 'Many farmers would get an animal to the vet before they'd think of themselves'

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

Farmer Morgan Murphy (54), Garryspillane, Co Limerick who had half his tongue removed due to cancer. Photo: Liam Burke
Farmer Morgan Murphy (54), Garryspillane, Co Limerick who had half his tongue removed due to cancer. Photo: Liam Burke

Limerick farmer Morgan Murphy (54) can thank a broken tooth - which forced him to visit his dentist for just the third time in 27 years - for discovering his cancer.

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"I'm a non-smoker, don't drink much and lead a fairly healthy life. So in many ways I was lucky I broke my tooth and cut my tongue as that forced me to visit my dentist and that very quickly led to the discovery of a tumour under my tongue."

Before long, he was undergoing a battery of tests and ended up having surgery to remove three quarters of his tongue.

It was later reconstructed, using a skin graft which was removed from his hand. One of the toughest parts came afterwards when he had to rest his tongue and communicate by writing.

He is happy to be back working his fields again.

Morgan is still undergoing treatment and one of the side-effects is the loss of his ability to taste food.

John Dunne (44), a fellow farmer, from near Naas in Kildare, felt in good health last year but had a swollen gland under his jawbone.

Luckily, he was quick to get it checked by his GP who referred him for tests. The discovery of his mouth cancer led to an intensive round of treatment which led to the removal of his wisdom teeth.

The ordeal saw him lose four stone in weight and he had to be fed through tubes while a patient in Beaumont Hospital. "Swallowing is still a bit of an issue, as is taste, but my energy levels are coming back now.

"The fact that I got that swollen gland checked out quickly was key to my successful treatment. There are many farmers out there who would get a vet to an animal before they'd think of contacting a dentist or doctor for themselves."

Irish Independent

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