Western University of Health Sciences is providing free oral cancer screenings on April 18 to promote Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April.

Screenings are available from 1 to 4 p.m. April 18, 2014 at the WesternU Dental Center in the Patient Care Center, 795 E. Second St., Pomona, Calif. 91766. Call 909-706-3910 for more information.

“Oral Cancer Awareness Month is part of a larger effort to lower the effects of this terrible disease, increase survival rates, and improve quality of life of affected people,” said College of Dental Medicine Assistant Professor Alejandro J. Urdaneta, DDS. “As a prosthodontist, a dentist specializing in replacing missing structures from the mouth and surrounding tissues, I deal firsthand with the devastating effects of oral cancer, and I know the importance of early detection and treatment.”

More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause more than 8,000 deaths. Of those newly diagnosed individuals, approximately 57 percent will be alive in five years. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of better-known cancers such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma), according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.