Hundreds show up for Tenn. oral cancer walk

Jeanna Richelson, an engineer and oral cancer survivor, recently organized the first Chattanooga Oral Cancer Awareness Walk in Tennessee to raise donations for the Oral Cancer Foundation and create awareness about the disease. The event drew hundreds of participants.

Prior to the 2.5-mile walk, the participants listened to inspirational stories by five oral cancer survivors.

While walks have become commonplace with many other diseases, raising awareness is no longer part of their function, according to the OCF. By having a walk to raise awareness of oral cancer, it also raises awareness of risk factors that people might avoid and encourages simple inexpensive annual screenings, which will in turn reduce the death rate.

"This is a disease that, in its early stages of development, does not always produce symptoms that people might notice," said Jamie O'Day, treatment facilities coordinator for OCF, in a press release. "Because of the insidious nature of oral cancer, annual screenings are essential to finding it as precancerous tissue changes or at early stages of development when existing treatments are the most effective."

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