(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

On the August 25, 2013, edition of Cleveland Connection host Katherine Boyd talks with Irina Novopoltseva and Cynthia Quint about oral cancer, and a fundraiser being held to raise funds to help fight the disease.

Irina Novopoltseva is a registered dental hygienist and Cynthia Quint is the Clinic Coordinator of the Dental Hygiene Program at Cuyahoga Community College. They’re involved with the second annual Zumbathon® Charity Event at Cuyahoga Community College to fight Oral Cancer.

Oral cancer kills one person every hour of every day, and yet, very few people are aware of its existence or are knowledgeable about life-saving warning signs.

The purpose of the Zumbathon® Charity Event is to raise awareness of this silent killer in a healthy and fun way, as well as raise life-saving funds that will be donated to the Oral Cancer Foundation, and to provide free oral cancer screenings.

When: September 7th, 2013 from 10-noon

Where: Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus

Campus, Recreation Center located on 2900 Community College Ave. Cleveland Ohio 44115

(Located on E. 30th, between Woodland and Community College Ave.)


 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/543644342360504/ (tickets are available for purchase via Facebook link; Eventzilla registration service is utilizing a PayPal for payment. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door the day of the event.

Eventzilla: http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138985171

They will also have prize drawings: $1.00 per ticket. Raffle prizes include gift certificates to local salons, restaurants, shopping gift cards, etc.

For more information about Oral Cancer:  http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

The goal is to inform people about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that we may reduce the death rate and help people avoid the pain and suffering that accompanies the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer.

Approximately 42,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Of those 42,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only 42% will be alive in five years from diagnosis. This is a number that has not improved in decades. However, early detection increases the survival rate 80-90%.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. Approximately 42,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. This is the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year.

Origin of Oral Cancer? Who is at Risk? 

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.

The demographics of those who develop this cancer have been consistent for some time. While historically the majority of people are over the age of 40 at the time of discovery, it is now occurring more frequently in those under this age. Exact causes for those affected at a younger age are now becoming clearer in peer reviewed research, revealing a viral etiology (cause), the human papilloma virus number 16. There are also links to young men and women who use conventional “smokeless” chewing or spit tobacco. Promoted by some as a safer alternative to smoking, it has in actuality not proven to be any safer to those who use it when referring to oral cancers.

What are the symptoms?

One of the real dangers of this cancer is that in its early stages, it can go unnoticed. It can be painless, and little in the way of physical changes may be obvious. The lesion may appear as a white or red patch of tissue in the mouth, or a small indurated ulcer which looks like a common canker sore. Because there are so many benign tissue changes that occur normally in your mouth, and some things as simple as a bite on the inside of your cheek may mimic the look of a dangerous tissue change, it is important to have any sore or discolored area of your mouth, which does not heal within 14 days, looked at by a professional. Other symptoms include: a lump or mass which can be felt inside the mouth or neck, pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or chewing, any wart like masses, hoarseness which lasts for a long time, or any numbness in the oral/facial region. Unilateral persistent ear ache can also be a warning sign. Any discussion of diagnosis must be prefaced with the issue of discovery. While an annual screening for oral cancer is important, it is possible that you will notice some change in your mouth or throat that needs examination between your annual screenings. You are the most important factor in an early diagnosis. You should always contact your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice the above listed symptoms in yourself or a loved one.


After the physical examination of your mouth, if your doctor finds any areas that are suspicious, he may recommend a biopsy. This is simply taking a small portion of the suspicious tissue for examination under a microscope. The most traditional type of biopsy is incisional. It may be done by the doctor who examines you, or you may be referred to another doctor for the procedure. In an incisional biopsy, the doctor will remove part or the entire lesion depending on its size and his ability to define the extent of it at this early stage. The sample of tissue is then sent to a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope to check for abnormal or malignant cells.

Zumbathon® Charity Event Presented by Licensed Zumba® Fitness Instructor Frank Tatulinski.

What is Zumbathon?

A Zumbathon is a special Zumba® extended length event that is usually held to support a cause.  Several different Zumba instructors will teach at the event, which is typically from two to three hours in length (with breaks).   Often a Zumbathon will support a Zumba Instructor’s local and personal causes that they feel strongly about, and will use their talents to raise money for that charity or organization. Zumbathon Charity Events must be sponsored by a Zumba Fitness Instructor who is a member of ZIN (The Zumba Instructors Network).

They are truly a fun event that will challenge you to take your Zumba to a whole new level while you’re doing some good for a worthy cause.  And if you think you torch calories in a regular Zumba class, wait until you try a Zumbathon!

The purpose of the Zumbathon® Charity Event is to raise the awareness of this silent killer. Our goal is to inform people about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that we may reduce the death rate and hopefully have people avoid the pain and suffering that accompanies diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer.


Leave a Reply