Open Wide and Say “Oral Cancer AHwareness”

Cathy Salustri

Open Wide and Say “Oral Cancer AHwareness”

Laurene Temple, RDH, a dental hygienist who works with Dr. Fred Feld, inspects Theodore Liswitch’s mouth for signs of oral cancer at Saturday’s oral cancer screening.

Crowds packed the Walgreens parking lot well before 10 a.m. at Saturday's free cancer screening in Gulfport. The  screening, arranged by seven-year oral cancer survivor, Oral Cancer Foundation Senior Patient Advocate and local businessman David Hastings, also included a free PSA test and a skin cancer screening. People starting queueing for screenings at nine Saturday morning, an hour before the screenings began. Although the screenings were supposed to end at two, the doctors didn’t finish screening people until almost three. One couple traveled from Brooksville for the screening.

 According to Mr. Hastings, next year he hopes the Gulfport event will have a Walgreens mobile bus that can perform seven different diagnostic tests. Although this marked the fourth year for the screenings, Mr. Hastings said he’d had trouble getting Walgreens to send the popular screening bus to the Gulfport location on the screening date.

 “Evidently it’s in high demand, so we’re submitting the date right now and it will give them a year to schedule it and maybe it will be key,” Mr. Hastings said.

 The popular event amazed healthcare professionals at the screening.

 “We did more screenings here today than we’ve ever done at any location,” the Moffitt coordinator told Mr. Hastings.

 “Our numbers have to be close to 500,” Mr. Hastings said, calling the day “a phenomenal success.”

To get more information on oral cancer, visit