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1st Annual Oral Cancer Walk for Awareness

BINGHAMTON -- A local group was walking to bring awareness to oral cancer Sunday.

Survivors and their families were among the hundreds walking in Otsiningo Park to raise money and awareness about the deadly disease.  Walkers were treated to free oral cancer screenings.  Health professionals say you should get one yearly.  They say 2,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and over half will not survive after 5 years. 

Organizers say detection and closer surveillance can help people survive.

"The side effects you don't feel.  The oral cancer doesn't hurt so you don't really know it until it's too far gone.  That's the problem," said organizer Daniele Klepfer.

"It's pretty devastating physically, more so emotionally," said survivor Rick Testani.

Officials say every hour, a person dies from oral cancer.  The money raised on Sunday will go to Oral Cancer Foundation who's mission is to save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities.

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