MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Medical Center will offer oral cancer screenings and oral cancer vaccinations Aug. 4 at 1000 N. Oak Ave. in Marshfield.

Oral cancer is diagnosed in nearly 54,000 people in the U.S. each year, and an estimated 9,750 people will die annually of this cancer. Oral cancer can often be identified early, and with early detection, survival rates are at their highest and side effects from treatment are at their lowest.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is available to help prevent oral cancer, but should be given in early adolescence to be most effective. The HPV vaccine is approved for people ages 11-45. HPV vaccines also are available in the ENT department on Aug. 4.

To have an oral cancer screening or an HPV vaccine, call 715-387-5245 or 800-782-8581, ext. 7-5245, to reserve an appointment. Appointments are necessary for the screening and the HPV vaccine; walk-in appointments are not accepted.

The oral cancer screening is free. There is a cost for the HPV vaccine; however, the vaccine can be billed to your insurance as the majority of insurances have coverage for this vaccine.

What are the risk factors?

Oral cancer most often is caused in one of two ways. One way is from tobacco and alcohol.

The other way from certain strains of HPV, which is now the leading cause of oral cancers in the U.S, and is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.

HPV-related oral cancers more often occur in younger, otherwise healthy nonsmokers.

The good news is it can be identified early through a simple and quick screening. In addition, a vaccine available to prevent oral cancer caused by HPV is available to both females and males, ages 11-45 in a series of two or three shots.

Who should get screened?

  1. Adults with a history of smoking or using chewing tobacco and significant alcohol use.
  2. Adults with a mouth sore that keeps coming back or has not healed within one month.

Who should get the oral cancer vaccine (HPV vaccine)?

  1. All females and males ages 11-26.
  2. Adults with higher risk factors ages 27-45 should discuss with their doctor.

Early symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • Any sore that bleeds or does not heal within 1 month.
  • Voice change that last for over 1 month.

Advanced symptoms of oral cancer:

  • A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
  • New numbness in the mouth.
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Ear pain on one side only.
  • A sore under a denture that, even after denture adjustment, still does not heal.
  • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth or neck.