OPEN days with an offer of free dental checks resulted in 17 people discovering they had mouth cancer, according to a new study, writes Eilish O'Regan.
The findings looked at the results of the free service, organised on two awareness days in September 2010 and 2011, to highlight mouth cancer.
A big turnout of people availed of the free checks on both occasions.
The findings, published in the 'Journal of the Irish Dental Association', showed that 1,661 attended the checks in the Dublin Dental Hospital in 2010 and this led to five cancers being detected.
Last year there were 12 cancers detected as a result of people who attended for screening being send for further biopsies in Dublin and Cork.
There is low public awareness about mouth cancer and smoking, particularly with alcohol consumption, which has been shown to be a major cause.