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NASCAR widow spreads oral cancer message
Updated: 5/7/2008 2:00:26 PM
 

The widow of NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton has been spreading the word about the dangers of oral, head and neck cancers, after her husband died of the disease last year.

Lori Hamilton tours the racing circuit urging people to be screened. "At a racetrack, we have a captive audience of 80,000 people," she told CNN. "If we can reach a third of them, maybe it can make a difference."

The news provider reports that the American Cancer Society estimates 35,000 new cases of oral, head and neck cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, more than 7,000 of whom will not survive.

Around a quarter of those cancers occur on the tongue, while lips, salivary glands and tonsils are also common locations.

Although doctors do not know what exactly causes these cancers, smoking and drinking is thought to be factor.

In addition, researchers are now finding that the HPV virus, a common sexually transmitted disease, could be responsible for up to 30 per cent of new cases of oral cancer. It can be transmitted through oral sex.

Recently dental professionals have warned the public that newly popularized smokeless tobacco products are not necessarily safer than traditional cigarettes and could still cause oral cancer.
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