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Fundraiser underscores risks, offers screenings for oral cancer

Eva Grayzel’s dentist dismissed it. So did two oral surgeons she subsequently visited. It wasn’t until she saw a specialist nine months later that the growth in her mouth was diagnosed as stage four oral cancer. At age 33, she was given a 15 percent chance of survival.

Against the odds, Grayzel survived and has become a champion for early detection. She founded a six-step screening for oral cancer, a screening offered to visitors at the second Oral Cancer Walk for Awareness, scheduled 9 a.m. to noon April 13 at the Foothill College athletic track, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills.

The event, sponsored by Foothill’s dental hygiene department, is a fundraiser for the Oral Cancer Foundation. Its inaugural event last year raised $5,500.

According to dental hygiene student and event organizer Michelle Vu, participants, either as individuals or in teams, will walk the track to raise money for the cause. In addition to the screenings, visitors can enjoy massages, live entertainment and refreshments.

Vu noted that oral cancer usually develops on the side of the tongue. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 40,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year.

Early-stage oral cancer is often painless and goes undetected. Symptoms include a change in oral tissue, persistent mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, a chronic sore throat, a non-tender lump in the neck and earaches.

Online registration and fundraising are now open for the event. Preregistration is $25. On-site registration is $30 for adults, $10 for children 6-10. To register, visit donate.oralcancer.org/event/foothill 2013.

For more information, call 949-7335.

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