Free cancer screenings prompt checkups

Local woman ignored cancer, could have cost her life

Headline Goes Here

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Diagnosed in 2010, ShirRay Gabriel was running the free head and neck cancer screening event at 21st Century Oncology on Wednesday night. 

"I put my hand on the right side of my neck and noticed a nodule and put it off," Gabriel said. "Then in October 2010 it was really bothering me, really hard to swallow and rally inflamed."

Gabriel put off screening for the lump, which turned out to be stage 4 cancer. It was found in barely enough time to save her life.

"If I had ignored it it would've been a devastating thing for my family, so that's why this particular screening is very passionate for me, because like a lot of people they just ignore that lump," she said.

Dr. Holly Nadji, a dentist volunteering at the screening, said mouth cancer is one often overlooked.

"Also considering the five year survival rate of cancer of the mouth is only 25 percent. That means that only 25 percent of people diagnosed with cancer of the mouth live up to five years. So it is very overlooked."

ONLINE:  21st Century Oncology of Jacksonville

Nadji recommends her patients be checked for mouth cancer every time they go to the dentist.

"You should ask your dentist to do a cancer check because a lot of dentists are not in the habit of doing one. Because we do recommend every time you see your dentist you have a check done," said Nadji.

A few things you want to watch out for as warning signs to these cancers are nose bleeds, painful swallowing or coughing blood for a few weeks.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.