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Free cancer screening for race fans

Published On: Mar 13 2013 11:59:43 AM CDT

NASCAR fans who attend this weekend's spring races at Bristol Motor Speedway can get a free test that could save their life.

The Wellmont Cancer Institute and BMS are teaming up to again offer free checks for potential mouth and throat cancers. Doctors will screen people from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the raceway's corporate display area.

The screenings were first held at last spring's race. Then, doctors saw 223 patients. Five of them were found to have possible cancer or pre-cancerous issues. Another 56 had concerning finds not specific to throat or mouth cancers.

Doctors say throat and mouth cancers make up about three to five percent of all cancers in the United States each year. Smoking and smokeless tobacco use are responsible for 75 percent of those cases.

Alcohol use also increases the risk for those cancers.

If caught early, mouth and throat cancers have a high cure rate.

Mouth and throat cancer symptoms include: red or white patches in the mouth; hoarseness that remains for three weeks; a persistent sore throat; persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal; pain or swelling in the mouth that does not subside; a lump in the head or neck area and unexplained earaches.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your physician.