“Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 12,000 lives per year,” says Amy Jordon, Chief Nursing Officer for Gordon Hospital. “However, there is hope; if diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase,” she said.
Gordon Hospital, in partnership with Drs. Sean Coleman and David Dinges of Calhoun ENT Associates, P.C., will be offering free oral, head and neck cancer screenings on Thursday, May 17.
The screenings will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at the hospital. While the screenings are free, reservations are required by calling 706-602- 7800, ext. 2305. The screening is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.
“Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers,” Jordon adds. “However, 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 sexually transmitted.”
Most oral cancers arise on the lips, tongue or the floor of the mouth. They also may occur inside your cheeks, on your gums or on the roof of your mouth.
Other head and neck cancers arise from the voice box or throat. The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed, but 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.