San Antonio Oral Cancer Walk 2023 set for Oct. 14

Registration underway for 3K event at UT Health San Antonio

Contact: Steven Lee, 210-450-3823,

SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 3, 2023 – The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry once again is partnering with The Oral Cancer Foundation to host The San Antonio Oral Cancer Walk 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 14, celebrating oral cancer survivors and honoring those lost to the disease.

The event is open to everyone, and will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the UT Health San Antonio recreational sports pavilion, located behind Gold’s Gym-Medical Center, 7431 Merton Minter, San Antonio, 78229. Park in student/faculty lots 3 or 10 behind Gold’s Gym, and alongside the tennis courts and sand volleyball lots; enter off Merton Minter. (NOTE: Gold’s Gym parking is for members only using the facility that day.)

Registration is free for all oral cancer survivors and children ages 5 or under, $35 for pre-registered adults ($40 at the event) and $15 for children ages 6 to 10. Check-in and registration at the event will take place 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

The UT Health San Antonio recreational sports pavilion where Oral Cancer Walk participants will gather.

The walk is a 3K on UT Health San Antonio premises, and a fun family event with plenty of children’s activities. Register now to attend or donate to Texas’ largest oral cancer walk. With registration, participants will receive T-shirts, which are free to oral cancer survivors.

Participants also can create their own teams to honor, remember and support a loved one effected by the disease. There will be raffles, music, speakers and more.

“We are raising awareness and funds to advance the mission of reducing suffering and saving lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy and patient support,” said David Ojeda Diaz, DDS, associate professor in the School of Dentistry and one of the organizers of this year’s oral cancer walk.

Free oral cancer screenings also will be offered to the public during this event.

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. More than 11,000 people are expected to die from the cancers. Oral cancers are typically fast-moving and, if not diagnosed early, can lead to poor outcomes in chewing, swallowing and speaking.

David Ojeda Diaz, DDS

“Oral cancer presents with key signs and symptoms that any dentist should be able to recognize during a routine clinical examination,” Ojeda Diaz said.

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),” Ojeda Diaz 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.”

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




The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is one of the country’s leading health science universities and is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. With missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement, its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions, graduate biomedical sciences and public health have graduated more than 42,200 alumni who are leading change, advancing their fields and renewing hope for patients and their families throughout South Texas and the world. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry offers 18 degrees and programs in both dentistry and dental hygiene, world-renown faculty educators, a diverse student population, state-of-the-art clinical facilities and a distinguished research enterprise. Departments include comprehensive dentistry, developmental dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery. Scientists collaborate with clinicians and research teams worldwide, and work across multiple medical and dental disciplines to find new treatments, advancing knowledge of oral health, biomaterials, cancer, pain and more. To learn more, visit

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