West Virginia University School of Medicine to offer free oral cancer screenings

November 30, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Dr. Majid Shafiei
File photo

RANSON, W.Va. — According to the American Cancer Society, more than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year with predictions that 6,900 will die of the disease.

On Monday, the West Virginia University School of Medicine will offer free oral cancer screenings in the first floor conference room at WVU Hospitals-East Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson.

Dr. Majid Shafiei, a clinical professor at WVU School of Medicine and a local ear, nose and throat specialist, is coordinating the screenings. Volunteer medical professionals will help with the clinic, he said.

It will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. No appointment is required.

"Oral cancer often occurs on the tonsils, tongue and gums," he said. "It often goes unidentified for months because it typically is not painful and may be located somewhere that is not easy to self-examine. The screenings are part of a campaign to encourage early detection and treatment. Participants with suspicious findings will be advised to seek a formal medical evaluation and biopsies," he said.

"People age 50 and older, and men more than women, are at greater risk, he said. Tobacco use, especially smokeless tobacco, and heavy drinking, can increase a person's risk of oral cancer.

Dentists can usually detect oral cancer during routine examinations, but that only works with regular dental checkups. Many residents, because they might lack dental insurance, can't afford them or are not in the habit of having regular checkups, should take advantage of the free clinic, he said.

The screenings, the first of its kind in the area, will take less than five minutes and are painless, Shafiei said.

For more information on the clinic call WVUH-East Ear, Nose and Throat at 304-262-9400.

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