Rates of disease increasing in young, healthy nonsmokers
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Marshfield Clinic Marshfield Center will offer free oral cancer screenings from 1-5 p.m. on April 22.
To reserve an appointment for an oral cancer screening, call 715-387-5245 or 800-782-8581, ext. 7-5245.
Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 48,330 people in the U.S. in 2016 will be diagnosed with oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 9,570 people will die of these cancers.
The good news is it can often be found early through a simple and quick screening.
Who should get screened?
Any adult with a history of smoking or using chewing tobacco, significant alcohol use, or a mouth sore that keeps coming back or has not healed within two weeks should be screened.
Oral cancer can often be identified early, and with early detection, survival rates are high, and side effects from treatment are at their lowest.
Like other screenings — such as those for cervical, skin, prostate, colon, and breast cancers — oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages.
What are the risk factors?
Oral cancer most often is caused one of two ways.
One way is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long-term historic problem and cause.
The other way is through exposure to the human papilloma virus 16 (HPV16), which is now the leading cause of oral cancers in the U.S. and is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.
The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population is young, healthy nonsmokers due to the connection to HPV16.
—Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
—Any sore that does not heal within 14 days.
—Hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
—A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
—Numbness in the oral region.
—Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
—Difficulty in swallowing.
—Ear pain that occurs on one side only.
—A sore under a denture that, even after denture adjustment, does not heal.
—A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth or neck.
“Oral cancer is becoming increasingly common and happening at an earlier age now than ever before, primarily because of HPV,” said Dr. Nathan Schreiber, an otolaryngologist at Marshfield Clinic. “The earlier it’s detected and treated, the better the chance of cure.”
An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year. Appointments are necessary for this free screening. Walk-in appointments are not accepted.