Free 5-minute screening could save your life

UW Health to offer free oral cancer screening

UW Health will offer free head and neck cancer screening on Friday at the otolaryngology clinic in the atrium at University Hospital.

As with other cancers, early diagnosis of oral cancers is critical to a good outcome.

“It is very important. It can make the treatment much simpler. It can also improve the prognosis quite dramatically,” said Dr. Aaron Wieland, an otolaryngologist with UW Health.

Worldwide, approximately 500,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year.

Screenings by dentists or primary care physicians are important because symptoms can be mistaken for common ailments.

“Diagnosis is part of the problem because many of the common things that we all experience every year, such as colds, a sore tooth or a canker sore can have some overlapping symptoms of things that are more serious, like oral cancers,” Wieland said.

Risk factors for oral cancer include the use of tobacco or excessive use of alcohol. HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is also responsible for an increasing number of oral cancers.

“We believe that many of the cancers could be a thing of the past if our younger generation gets appropriately vaccinated,” Wieland said.

No registration is required for the free head and neck cancer screening on Friday. Parking is available in the hospital ramp and your parking ticket will be validated for free parking.