November 05, 2008

Free oral cancer screenings set for Nov. 16

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- This year more than 35,000 Americans will discover they have oral cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Free oral cancer screenings and blood pressure checks are coming to Carbondale this month courtesy of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale student chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

The screenings are set for Nov. 16 at the Hopewell Baptist Church, 400 E. Main St. They will begin immediately after the morning worship service, about 1 p.m., and continue until 3 p.m. SIUC’s Dental Hygiene program students are offering this service to community members for a second consecutive year.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that oral cavity and pharynx cancer will be the diagnosis for more than 25,000 men and 10,000 women this year. Nearly 7,600 will die from the disease by the end of 2008. Black males are the most common victims of this disease.

Signs and symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control, include: a mouth sore that bleeds easily or won’t heal, a persistent white or red patch in the mouth, difficulty chewing or swallowing food, or a lump, thickening or soreness in the mouth, throat or tongue. Early symptoms are often painless and not too noticeable, and therefore easy to overlook.

Along with oral cancer screenings and blood pressure checks, the event provides information about denture care and oral health. Students also will serve a light lunch to participants.

Sponsors of the event are the SIUC Dental Hygiene Program, the Student Chapter of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Southern Illinois Healthcare and the Jackson County Health Department, with a donation from the Carbondale Gamma Kappa Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

For more information, contact Sherri Lukes at 618/453-7289 or Faith Miller at 618/453-8880.