Free Oral Screenings Offered

Free Oral Screenings Offered

ROCK SPRINGS — Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just ask the more than 100,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck (including thyroid) last year.

Sweetwater Regional Cancer Center will team up with Dr. Tyler Carlson at White Mountain Dental to offer free screenings during Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month. The screenings will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 20 at 2701 Foothill Blvd. in Rock Springs. All screenings will be on a first come-first first-served basis and scheduled as walk-ins. Call Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s Cancer Center if you have questions – 307-212-7762 for the MHSC Radiation Oncology Clinic.

Given the current state of the economy and rising health care costs, the MHSC cancer specialists advise all adults to take advantage of the opportunity to benefit from this preventive health measure at no charge. You’ll be taking 10 minutes to do something that could save your life. Early diagnosis and treatment improve outcomes and chances of survival, particularly for individuals with HPV-related oral cancers. The screening is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.  

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Many Americans don’t recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which include cancers of the oral cavity, thyroid, larynx and pharynx. By the time they are diagnosed, for some, it’s too late.

Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 14,000 lives per year. However, there is hope; if diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase.

Who should get tested?

Every adult. Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers. Oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, a cancer-causing infection that can be transmitted by oral sex, according to the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.

What are the potential warning signs?

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed. There are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention, including:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal or that increases in size
  • Persistent pain in your mouth
  • Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, or moving your tongue
  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Changes in your voice
  • A lump in your neck

If you have any of the above warning signs, do not wait for the free screenings. Seek medical attention immediately.