Author: Dave Detling
The track is a place filled with tasty treats. It’s a confectionary dream and dentist’s worst nightmare.
Joe Gayner is spending his Wednesday at the race course. But he’s not sitting track side. He’s on folding chair with a dentist hovering over him. With tools in hand, Gayner is being told to bite down and show a big grin.
It is an odd sight, but Joe Gayner, along with a massive group of fans, is being screened for oral cancer.
“That was the easiest checkup I’ve ever had,” said Gayner.
Doctor Robert Trager is a practicing dentist. He’s been screening people at the track for the past five years. He says it’s the perfect place for early detection.
“You have a lot of people who come from all over the country, especially to Saratoga who haven’t been to a dentist. And the ones who have don’t even realize what oral cancer is,” said Dr. Trager.
It’s recommended you see a dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and an oral cancer screening. But the last place people are expecting to find one is here at the Saratoga race track.
“It seems a little silly actually. My daughter worried because I was a smoker years ago and she wanted me to have this cancer checked to make sure I’m clean,” said Terry Rasmus.
With a clean bill of health, most people screened are glad this free service is available.
Damien Haas who works at Restaurant Row agrees.
“I think it is one of the last things I would have thought of. I was kind of dragged into the situation here but overall I’m glad that they’re doing it,” Haas said.
“I didn’t understand why they had the cancer screenings and then I asked and they said because of the tobacco and the different people smoke and smoke. A lot of people are at risk, so it’s a good idea,” said Alisha Daddario.
The goal of these dentists is to screen over 100 people.
Early detection is key, because oral cancer is something you don’t want to gamble with.