PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center is offering free oral, head and neck cancer screenings from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 28.
Doctors will be on hand to do brief examinations. Registration is required, and times can be reserved by calling Carol Brumet at 360-788-6706.
Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 12,000 lives per year, according to the center.
If diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase.
Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers. However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke.
Recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus virus, a cancer-causing infection that can be transmitted orally.
Oral cancers related to the virus are more difficult to detect, because these cancers usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils.
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed.
According to the center, there are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention:
-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