On Friday, April 25, 200 free oral cancer screening exams will be offered to the public in the Duncan Building at the Texas Medical Center. The free, public program is being provided by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, where doctors will examine people’s mouths.
The goal is to screen for cancers connected to the use of smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, excessive use of alcohol, and cigar or pipe smoking. The best way to increase the 5 year survival rate (approximately 50 percent) is to detect the disease as soon as possible.
Every year, more than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, and more than 7,000 people die from the disease. Moreover, mouth cancer’s mortality is almost twice as high in some minorities, such as black males, as is in caucasian adults, but MD Anderson’s Department of Head and Neck Surgery professor, Dr. Ann Gillenwater, explained that anyone can get oral cancer, and that it often presents as a mass or a non-healing sore.
“Using tobacco and alcohol can significantly increase a person’s chance of developing a head and neck cancer. People at high risk for these cancers should speak with their doctor about ways to reduce their risks, as well as how often to have checkups,” she said.
Individuals that want to take advantage of the free exam must be one of the first 200 people to arrive at the Texas Medical Center. They will be examined by a primary care physician or a dentist, and must tell the doctors about any sores, bumps, or unusual or abnormal areas in the mouth.