Thursday morning, city officials announced that they will be offering referral services and health screenings to decrease the rate of oral cancer diagnoses and save lives, in recognition of April’s National Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
“Improving oral and oropharyngeal cancer awareness in our community is imperative,” said Angela Mora, Department of Public Health Director.
“Oral cancer has an incidence rate of about 7.2 per 100,000 residents in El Paso County and affects males twice as much as females in the U.S., but we as a community can work to reduce the incidence rate by participating in Oral Cancer Awareness month.”
Mora said residents can take part in Oral Cancer Awareness month by:
- Reducing the use of tobacco products
Tobacco use and vaping significantly increases the risk of infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes oral or oropharyngeal cancer.
- Getting Screened
Oral and oropharyngeal cancers occur most often in the tongue, soft and hard palate, tonsils, gums and back of the throat which is why regular oral and dental examinations by a health professional is important.
- Getting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine
According to the CDC, HPV is known to cause approximately 70 percent of oral and oropharyngeal cancer cases, and the HPV vaccine was developed to prevent infection by the high-risk types of HPV that cause cancers such as oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
For more information on the services and health screenings provided by the Department of Public Health visit EPHealth.com under the Services Tab Education and Promotion or call 2-1-1.