Free oral cancer screenings set for Dec. 15

Free oral cancer screenings are scheduled for Dec. 15 in Grand Junction.

Community Hospital’s Grand Valley Oncology and Grand Valley ENT & Facial Plastic Surgeons will offer the screenings from 1 to 4 p.m. at 2373 G Road, Suite 270. To schedule an appointment for a screening, call (970) 644-3800. Walk-in patients will be welcomed.

“Although head and neck cancers can be devastating in the advanced stages, they can be preventable and respond favorably to treatment when detected early,” said Dr. Adam Baker, an ear, nose and throat and facial plastic surgeon at Community Hospital in Grand Junction.

Early indicators of oral cancer include difficulty swallowing or moving the jaw or tongue, a sore throat or ear pain that doesn’t go away, a white patch on the tongue or lining of the mouth or a lump or thickening in the mouth or neck.

Head and neck cancers can be the result of tobacco and alcohol use as well as exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV). About 70 percent of cancers in the middle part of the throat are linked to the HPV virus.

“We know there is a substantial link between oral cancer and HPV infection in both men and women,” said Dr. Jonathan Frandsen, radiation oncologist at Grand Valley Oncology.  “This makes screening and vaccinations important tools in cancer prevention.”