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IU Health, Indians to offer free cancer screening June 26

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Fans watching the Indianapolis Indians take on the Pawtucket Red Sox on June 26, can receive a free oral, head and neck cancer screening before and during the game at Victory Field.

It’s a fan giveaway from the Indianapolis Indians and Indiana University Health that could save your life. Volunteers from the IU Simon Cancer Center at IU Health and the IU School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery will provide the screenings in a private tent area set up in the PNC Plaza inside the main fan entrance at Victory Field.

Cancer survivor Brent Oakes – a husband and father from Rossville, Ind. – will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The screenings, performed by a physician, are painless and involve a physical examination of the mouth, facial area and neck for abnormalities. If any irregularities are found, the person would be referred to his or her primary care doctor or a specialist. About the free screening:

Screenings will begin when the gates of Victory Field open at 12:30 p.m. Sunday’s game begins at 2:05 p.m. Information on cancer and the dangers of tobacco also will be available.

Facts about oral, head and neck cancer:

It arises in the head or neck region, including the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat, or larynx (voice box). Roughly 40,000 cases are diagnosed annually.

Most oral cancers arise on the lips, tongue or on the floor of the mouth. They also may occur inside your cheeks, on your gums or on the roof of your mouth.

Eighty-five percent of oral, head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes is the major cause. Chewing tobacco has been shown to cause mouth cancer.

Human papilloma virus may be related to over half of tonsil cancers.

Oral, head and neck cancers tend to form in the areas where tobacco/alcohol use has the most contact. For example, where the cigarette sits on the lip, or where the chewing tobacco is placed in the mouth.

Signs and symptoms include:

• A sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal or increases in size.

• Persistent pain in your mouth.

• Lumps or white, red or dark patches inside your mouth.

• A lump in your neck.

• Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat.

“I’ve loved baseball since I was a boy, but one pastime long associated with baseball – smokeless tobacco – troubles me. In fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of oral, head and neck cancers,” said Dr. Michael G. Moore a surgeon and researcher with the IU Simon Cancer Center and the Indiana University School of Medicine. “But the good news is that when caught early, many of these cancers are very treatable. So, we are happy to team up with the Indians to talk with fans about the importance of prevention and early detection.”

“The Indianapolis Indians support the efforts of IU Health in the prevention and early detection of oral cancer. Minor League Baseball has had a policy for many years of discouraging the use of oral tobacco,” said Cal Burleson, Indianapolis Indians vice president and general manager. “The fact that research indicates that 85 percent of oral, head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use is an important aspect of this policy.”


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