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MEEKER I “Everyone should be screened for oral cancer,” according to dental hygienist and owner of White River Dental Hygiene Kari Brennan. Brennan will once again be providing free oral cancer screenings during the 9Health Fair at Meeker Elementary School.
The incidence of oral cancer among younger people, even teenagers, is on the rise due to a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16), which is also the most common cause of cervical cancer in women. Smokers and tobacco users are also at increased risk, as well as people who have been treated for other forms cancer and individuals who experience chronic dry mouth.
Almost 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year in the U.S. The death rate for oral cancers is higher than that of may other cancers because it is often discovered late in its development.
“If we can find it early through screening there’s an 80-90 percent survival rate,” Brennan said.
The screening takes three to five minutes and is non-invasive.
“Oral cancer comes in a lot of different shapes, sizes and colors. It can come with pain or be painless,” Brennan said. “I check all outside and inside the mouth for anything suspicious.”
Brennan has been offering the screenings at the health fair for the last 12 years.
The health fair runs from 7-11 a.m. Saturday. April 22. Save time by registering in advance online at 9healthfair.org.