Free oral health screenings will be offered on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Perino’s Home and Garden Center, 3100 Veterans Memorial Blvd., in Metairie. Exams of the oral cavity and neck, as well as counseling about risk factors for oral cancer, will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants will be referred for follow-up if warranted.

Dr. Rohan Walvekar, a head and neck surgeon at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, is leading the effort, along with LSU Health New Orleans ENT faculty and medical students.

At a screening in August, the LSU Health New Orleans team diagnosed two early stage oral cancers. If oral cancer is caught when the disease is still localized, the five-year relative survival rate is between 75 percent and 93 percent. Treatment for very early stage oral cancer may only require minor surgery to remove the cancer.

The major risk factors for oral cancer are smoking and the use of tobacco products, drinking alcohol and prior cancer in the region. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include a sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away, sore throat or the feeling that something is caught in your throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty moving or swelling in your jaw, a change in the voice, thickening of your cheek or a growth or swelling in the neck.

For more information about the screenings, call the LSU Health New Orleans department of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at (504) 568-4785.