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MCGHealth offers free oral cancer screenings

doctor looking into patient's mouth

MCGHealth offered free oral cancer screenings. (May 12, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Thursday, May 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- MCGHealth's Cancer Center is offering free oral cancer screenings today. Oral cancer kills 1 person every 24 hours and many times it's because it's discovered too late. It strikes about 30,000 people every year. Yet, screening for it is a quick and easy process. One that Dr. Arturo Solares thinks more adults should have.

"Oral cancer is fairly common. It's much more common in the southern part of the United States," explains Dr. Solares. "Due to excess use of tobacco and alcohol."

The screening involves scanning your head and neck, doctors will feel for lumps around the neck and check inside your mouth for anything unusual. "Symptoms are if you are having trouble swallowing, ear pain, voice change, or just pain in swallowing," said Dr. Solares.

Approximately half of the people that will be diagnosed this year, will be diagnosed too late. Treatment usually isn't very successful in that case. That's why doctors want you to come in for this screening because it's easy to catch early.

Dr. Solares added, "The goal of the screening is to find whether anybody has a tumor. That's early enough that we can treat with minimally evasive techniques."

With improved technology Dr. Solares says they can perform robotic surgeries that require less cutting and quicker healing time.

"Sometimes you can do surgery through the mouth without making any incisions in the neck. Or, a very small incision in the neck," said Dr. Solares.

If you have a tumor that is developing slowly you may never see any signs or feel anything unusual that's why doctors say it's better to get screened now rather than find out later.

To receive your free screening you can drop by MCGHealth's Cancer Center starting at 8:30 a.m. through noontime. You can call ahead of time to make an appointment at 706-721-6744, or you can walk-in.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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