BRISTOL — Tracey Moffatt did not have the main risk factors associated with mouth and throat cancer, but that did not prevent her from being diagnosed with the disease in 2012.
It’s a mystery to her caregivers how she landed on this journey, but this tongue cancer survivor, who also serves as Wellmont Health System’s chief operating officer, is even more passionate now about the value of mouth and throat cancer screenings.
The Wellmont Cancer Institute and Bristol Motor Speedway are teaming with A Voice for Hope, a nonprofit organization, and its Screening P.I.T. Stop, to check for potential mouth and throat cancers this weekend. Physicians will screen people from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17, in the speedway’s corporate display area.
Moffatt urges people to participate in this free event.
“While you might never be diagnosed with cancer, that is not guaranteed, so taking a few minutes of your time to be screened could save your life,” Moffatt said.
This is the second year for the screenings. At the spring race in 2012, physicians saw 223 patients and found five people with concerning findings that might be mouth and throat cancer malignancies or premalignancies. The screenings also resulted in 56 concerning findings that were not specific to mouth and throat cancers.
Jerry Caldwell, the speedway’s general manager, said he is pleased this partnership will continue in 2013.
“Wellmont is a great partner of ours — not just because of the response of their people when something does happen, but the care they take in programs like this to take preventive measures as well,” Caldwell said.
Mouth and throat cancers represent 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States, and tobacco and alcohol usage increases a person’s risk. Smoking and smokeless tobacco contribute to 75 percent of mouth and throat cancer.