San Antonio Oral Cancer Walk 2022 set for April 23

Attendees cross the start line at the 2019 San Antonio Oral Cancer Walk.

Registration underway for event at UT Health San Antonio

The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry is partnering with the Oral Cancer Foundation to host The San Antonio Oral Cancer Walk 2022 on Saturday, April 23, celebrating oral cancer survivors and honoring those lost to the disease.

The event, which also observes April as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, is open to everyone, and will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at UT Dentistry’s Center for Oral Health Care and Research, 8210 Floyd Curl Drive. Registration is free for all oral cancer survivors, $30 for pre-registered adults and $15 for children ages 6 to 10.

In addition, student and faculty volunteers from UT Health San Antonio’s School of Dentistry and School of Nursing will provide free oral cancer screenings and vaccinations for human papillomavirus, a common viral infection linked to the disease. There also will be raffles, music and special guest speakers.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 54,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed this year with oral and oropharyngeal cancers, which can affect the mouth, tongue or throat. Oral cancers are typically fast-moving and, if not diagnosed early, can lead to poor outcomes in chewing, swallowing and speaking.

“Oral cancer presents with key signs and symptoms that any dentist should be able to recognize during a routine clinical examination,” said David Ojeda Diaz, DDS, assistant professor in the School of Dentistry and one of the organizers of this year’s oral cancer walk.

Common signs and symptoms of oral cancer are:

  • Mouth sores that do not heal.
  • Masses in the mouth.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Mouth pain and difficulty swallowing.

Persons age 50 or older with a history of heavy drinking or smoking have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. However, studies have identified an influx of young, nonsmoking patients diagnosed with oral cancer due to human papillomavirus.

“In recent years, there has been a significant increase in oropharyngeal cancer associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV),” Dr. Ojeda said. “In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine against nine strains of HPV, which includes strains causing oropharyngeal cancer.”

To register, find out more information or to donate, visit The Oral Cancer Foundation’s event webpage.

UT Health San Antonio is a comprehensive academic health center that provides its patients with seamless care among all providers. The dentists at UT Dentistry routinely collaborate with experts at the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, to deliver precise, personalized care.

If you would like to schedule a routine, preventive care check-up with our dentists, please call 210-567-6453 or visit UTHealthDental.com.



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Article Categories: Community, Health, On Campus