This weekend, a Clayton dentist will offer free oral cancer screenings at a brewery.
Dr. Ted Rodgers of Clayton Comprehensive Dental Care said he’ll look around people’s mouths and check their neck glands for anything that looks unusual. If they have something that requires a follow-up, he’ll refer them to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
The screenings are scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday as part of “Beating Oral Cancer One Pint at a Time,” an event at Double Barley Brewing, 3174 U.S. 70 West near Wilson’s Mills.
Rodgers said it’s somewhat ironic to hold the screenings at a brewery, as excessive alcohol consumption is one cause of oral cancer. At the same time, people who drink or enjoy a cigarette with their beer are those who need screenings the most, he said.
“We have a target audience there,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers has held free screenings at his Clayton office in past years but planned on stopping that tradition this year. People just weren’t showing up, he said.
But Selma resident Charlie Simpson approached Rodgers and asked him to take part in the event at the brewery.
Simpson, who grew up in Smithfield, said he wished he would have gotten screened before being diagnosed with stage 4 oral, face and neck cancer in 2011. He went through chemotherapy and had about 40 rounds of radiation to rid his body of the disease but is still feeling affects from the treatment today.
Simpson, 61, said he has organized several screening events throughout Eastern North Carolina so no one else has to go through what he did.
“If you check 50 people and find one person with a lesion in their mouth or a reason to see somebody, that’s a good day’s work,” Simpson said.
Simpson’s cancer treatment has strained his vocal chords, making it hard for him to talk for long periods. He nearly chokes when he takes a sip of water.
However, he hasn’t let his ailments keep him from his lifelong passion: music. Accompanied by a guitar and going by the stage name, Ole’ Charlie, Simpson performs at each of the screening events he organizes.
As a child, Simpson took guitar lessons from a blind man in Smithfield and continued them as a teen. He has always kept a guitar nearby.
“I love being able to sing, even if it’s badly,” Simpson said.
Simpson will sing at Double Barley Brewing on Saturday. The event will include drawings for door prizes, brewery tours, beer samples and a home-brewers contest. The Cousins Maine Lobster food truck will also be on site.
Double Barley Brewing is donating a portion of its beverage sales to The Oral Cancer Foundation.
Rodgers, the dentist, said he is happy to help with anything that raises the awareness about oral cancer.
“It doesn’t have the same public relations that breast cancer or colon cancer have,” Rodgers said. “Unfortunately, it’s a very prevalent cancer and oftentimes an avoidable cancer with factors involved like tobacco use and alcohol.”
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104
Want to go?
What: “Beating Oral Cancer One Pint at a Time”
Where: Double Barley Brewing, 3174 U.S. 70 West near Wilson’s Mills.
When: Saturday, May 23.