Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Noble Hospital to Offer Free Oral Cancer Screenings

Noble Hospital’s Oncology Department will be offering free Oral Cancer screenings on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 9:00 am-12 noon in conjunction with Baystate Dental PC. Baystate Dental PC uses the Velscope Oral Cancer Screening System during head and neck examinations to detect oral abnormalities. This screening is quick, painless, and free of charge.

Approximately 42,000 people will be diagnosed with a form of oral cancer in 2013. Adults should have an oral cancer screening every year. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatments are low. Two risk factors for oral cancer are the long-term use of tobacco and alcohol, and exposure to the HPV16 virus, a sexually-transmitted virus that causes most cervical cancer cases. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population is young, healthy, non-smokers; this is due to the HPV16 virus.

Early indicators of oral cancer include red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth, any sore that does not heal within 14 days, or hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time. Advanced indicators are a sensation that something is stuck in your throat, numbness of the oral region, difficulty moving your jaw or tongue, difficulty swallowing, ear pain in one side only, a sore under a denture that does not heal, or a lump of thickening in the mouth or on the neck.

While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 100 new individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal throat cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 12,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately at this time, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages combined at time of diagnosis), and high treatment related morbidity in survivors.

For more information about oral cancer, please visit The Oral Cancer Foundation’s website at www.oralcancer.org

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