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IU Health, Indianapolis Indians to offer free oral, head and neck cancer screening June 26

| Indianapolis—Fans watching the Indianapolis Indians take on the Pawtucket Red Sox on Sunday, June 26, can receive a free oral, head and neck cancer screening before and during the game at Victory Field.

It’s a fan giveaway from the Indianapolis Indians and Indiana University Health that could save your life.

Volunteers from the IU Simon Cancer Center at IU Health and the IU School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery will provide the screenings in a private tent area set up in the PNC Plaza inside the main fan entrance at Victory Field. Cancer survivor Brent Oakes -- a husband and father from Rossville, Ind. -- will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The screenings, performed by a physician, are painless and involve a physical examination of the mouth, facial area and neck for abnormalities. If any irregularities are found, the person would be referred to his or her primary care doctor or a specialist.

About the free screening:

Screenings will begin when the gates of Victory Field open at 12:30 p.m. Sunday’s game begins at 2:05 p.m. Information on cancer and the dangers of tobacco also will be available.

Facts about oral, head and neck cancer:

  • It arises in the head or neck region, including the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat, or larynx (voice box). Roughly 40,000 cases are diagnosed annually.
  • Most oral cancers arise on the lips, tongue or on the floor of the mouth. They also may occur inside your cheeks, on your gums or on the roof of your mouth.
  • Eighty-five percent of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer’s are linked to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes is the major cause. Chewing tobacco has been shown to cause mouth cancer.
  • Human Papilloma Virus may be related to over half of tonsil cancers.
  • Oral Head and Neck cancers tend to form in the areas where tobacco/alcohol use has the most contact. For example, where the cigarette sits on the lip, or where the chewing tobacco is placed in the mouth.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal or increases in size.
  • Persistent pain in your mouth.
  • Lumps or white, red or dark patches inside your mouth.
  • A lump in your neck.
  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat.

"I’ve loved baseball since I was a boy, but one pastime long associated with baseball – smokeless tobacco -- troubles me. In fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of oral, head and neck cancers," Dr. Michael G. Moore a surgeon and researcher with the IU Simon Cancer Center and the Indiana University School of Medicine. "But the good news is that when caught early, many of these cancers are very treatable. So, we are happy to team up with the Indians to talk with fans about the importance of prevention and early detection."

“The Indianapolis Indians support the efforts of IU Health in the prevention and early detection of oral cancer. Minor League Baseball has had a policy for many years of discouraging the use of oral tobacco,” Cal Burleson, Indianapolis Indians vice president and general manager. “The fact that research indicates that 85 percent of oral, head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use is an important aspect of this policy.”

For interviews with Dr. Michael Moore, cancer survivor Brent Oakes or Cal Burleson call Daniel Lee of IU Health at (317) 963-0448 or Chris Herndon of the Indians at (317) 269-3588.

Information on oral, head and neck cancer symptoms courtesy of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. For more information, visit


About Indiana University Health
Named among the “Best Hospitals in America” by U.S. News & World Report for 13 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine--one of the nation’s leading medical schools--gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology. Discover the strength at

About IU Simon Cancer Center
The IU Simon Cancer Center is an Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Health partnership. Located in Indianapolis, IU Simon Cancer Center serves as a regional and national referral center for state-of-the-art cancer treatment and is Indiana’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center that provides patient care. The partnership between IU School of Medicine and Indiana University Health is dedicated to establishing a state-wide health care delivery system that is supported by the scientific resources and clinical expertise of the medical school. Its mission is to advance the understanding, prevention and treatment of cancer throughout Indiana and the world with patient-centered care, acceleration of promising science and collaborative educational programs. For more information visit and

About Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field
The Indianapolis Indians are a Triple-A professional baseball team that plays its home games at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The Indians are the top farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Professional baseball has been played continuously in Indianapolis since 1887 and the Indians have been community-owned since 1956. Twelve former Indians have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and the team has won 23 championships. Victory Field has been named “Best Minor League Ballpark” by several national media including Baseball America and Sports Illustrated. Victory Field is another great attraction in the 250-acre White River State Park. Visit for more.

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