Have You Been Screened For Oral Cancer?

Have You Been Screened For Oral Cancer?

As you’re packing up the family to head to this year’s Corrales Harvest Festival for hayrides and a foot-stompin’ hootenanny under the stars, I’m going to be a buzz kill for a second. I want you to think about oral cancer, which kills one person every hour of the day. In fact, approximately 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year alone, and far too many will receive their diagnoses at a late stage of the disease, lowering their chances for survival. The good news is that oral cancer can be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening. That’s why you’ll see Davis Gribble Hollowwa at a free Oral Cancer Foundation screening stand in the Corrales Harvest Festival Village Marketplace on September 28, 9 am to 5 pm.

Who Should Stop By for a Screening?

Every adult. We encourage you to stop by and bring a loved one. Your stop is especially important if you haven’t been to a dentist in a while or if you’re experiencing any of the signs or symptoms we list below.

Also, two population segments are especially at risk: long-term tobacco and alcohol users, and young healthy, non-smokers who have been exposed to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma version 16). HPV16 is also responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The same HPV strain is responsible for oropharyngeal cancers (cancers in the back of the mouth, throat, and tonsils), and affect men 4 to 1 over women.

If You Have Any of These Symptoms, Stop For a Screening!

  • 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.
  • Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Ear pain that occurs on one side only.
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
  • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth or on the neck.

What Happens During a Screening?

Screenings are quick, painless, and non-invasive. They are visual and tactile. We thoroughly examine your mouth, face, and neck to check for any spots or sores that may be early warnings. A blue light helps us detect tissue changes that may not visible with regular light. We will also ask you some questions about tobacco and alcohol or symptoms. The entire exam takes just a few minutes, so you’ll be off to festival fun before you can say “looks good!”

Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives

Our dentists at Davis Gribble Hollowwa want you to incorporate yearly oral cancer screenings into your routine preventive health care just as you do other screenings. To learn more about oral/oropharyngeal cancers, log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at www.oralcancer.org. And plan to come to the Corrales Harvest Festival on September 28 for your free oral cancer screening. It may save your life!

Author Info

Dr. Connor Hollowwa

Dr. Connor Hollowwa is an Albuquerque native. He graduated from the Albuquerque Academy and went on to receive a BA from Rice University. His Doctorate of Dental Surgery is from Creighton University School of Dentistry. Before joining private practice he practiced at the state-of-the-art Isleta Health Center’s Dental Clinic, providing modern dental care for the members of the Pueblo of Isleta. In his free time he enjoys playing the piano, fly-fishing, golfing, and skiing.