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Screenings on 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, April 9, on the first floor of the Kaiser Permanente Sunnybrook Medical Office

Kaiser Permanente is offering the public free oral cancer screenings in honor of Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month.

The screenings are offered 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, April 9, on the first floor of the Kaiser Permanente Sunnybrook Medical Office, Conference Room A, 9900 S.E. Sunnyside Road, Clackamas.

Kaiser officials say oral cancer is on the rise. They recommend getting screened if you have one of these symptoms:

A sore throat that lasts several months and won't go away

A voice that has changed or is hoarse

Trouble swallowing food

A lump in your neck

Kaiser spokesperson Maggie Huffman said head and neck cancers usually begin in the mucosal surfaces inside the mouth, nose, throat and, occasionally, the salivary glands. Alcohol and tobacco use are major risk factors for developing head and neck cancer.

"Other risk factors include poor oral hygiene, occupational exposure to wood dust, asbestos and poor nutrition," Huffman said. "Early diagnosis is critical for these hard-to-detect cancers."

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