LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Free Oral Health Screening to Help Save Lives

oral cancer screening

Led by Dr. Rohan Walvekar, a Head and Neck Surgeon at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, LSU Health New Orleans ENT faculty, residents and medical students will conduct a free oral cancer screening open to the public on Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., at Perino’s Home and Garden Center, 3100 Veterans Blvd., in Metairie. Offered on a first come, first served basis, the potentially life-saving screening involves an examination of the oral cavity and neck, as well as counseling about risk factors for oral cancer. Participants will be referred for follow-up where warranted.

The LSU Health New Orleans team have diagnosed early stage oral cancers at these free screenings. If oral cancer is caught when the disease is still localized (when it has not spread beyond the original tumor site), the 5-year relative survival rate ranges between 75 and 93%, depending upon which tissue is affected. Treatment for very early stage oral cancer may only require minor surgery to remove the cancer. The past five decades have brought needed refinements in radiation therapy and surgical interventions, and the introduction of chemotherapy has been helpful in fighting the spread of oral cancer to sites elsewhere in the body. For the first time, scientists also know enough about the molecular defects in oral cancer cells to begin to design targeted molecular therapies to kill the cancer cells with greater precision and efficiency.

The major risk factors for oral cancer are smoking and the use of tobacco products, drinking alcohol, especially together, and prior cancer in the region. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include a sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away, sore throat or the feeling that something is caught in your throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty moving or swelling in your jaw, a change in the voice, thickening of your cheek, or a growth or swelling in the neck.

Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth and pharynx (the back of the throat). According to the National Institutes of Health, it is estimated that there will be 49,670 new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer in 2017 and an estimated 9,700 people will die of this disease this year. Oral cancer is more common in men than women, among those with a history of tobacco or heavy alcohol use, and individuals infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).

For more information about the LSU Health Oral Cancer Screening, call the LSU Health New Orleans Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at 504-568-4785.

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Leslie Capo

Office: 504-568-4806

Cell: 504-452-9166