Early detection effort seeks to promote Oral Cancer Awareness Week June 23-29
The University of Maryland Medical Center is offering free oral cancer screenings next week at its UniversityCare family health centers in Edmondson Village and Howard Park in recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness Week in Maryland and as part of its participation in the Baltimore City Cancer Program.
The Baltimore City Cancer Program, which is funded with tobacco lawsuit settlement funds allocated through the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program, offers free breast, cervical and oral cancer screenings to uninsured people in the city. It is a joint effort by the University of Maryland Medical Group, the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Baltimore City Health Department and Sinai Hospital to promote early detection and treatment of cancer.
Next week's free oral cancer screenings will be held Wednesday, June 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at UniversityCare at Edmondson Village, 4538 Edmondson Avenue, and Thursday, June 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at UniversityCare at Howard Park, 4510 Liberty Heights Avenue. No appointment is needed.
"Screening for oral cancer is easy and painless," says Jimmie Drummond, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., UniversityCare's medical director and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "A mouth exam takes only a few minutes and can detect a cancer that is very treatable, especially if it is detected early. Adults who are over age 40 should be examined each year for oral cancer."
Prime candidates for oral cancer are those who smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco and also use alcohol, says Dr. Drummond. Oral cancer -- cancer that occurs in the mouth and on the lips -- accounts for 4 percent of cancers diagnosed in the United States each year. Men have been twice as likely as women to develop the disease often because of tobacco and alcohol use. But, the number of women has increased in recent years due to smoking.
Maryland ranks eighth in the nation in oral cancer deaths; Baltimore is first in the state, with many African-Americans dying from the disease. The five-year overall survival rate is about 50 percent.
The most common symptom of oral cancer is a sore in the mouth that does not heal. Other warning signs include:
Dr. Drummond advises people to avoid tobacco and excessive use of alcohol and to see their physician every year to be checked for oral cancer.
For more information, call UniversityCare at Edmondson Village at (410) 328-2273 or UniversityCare at Howard Park at (410) 328-5041.
Information is also available at www.umcrf.org.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.