Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week is celebrated April 8-15. While people don’t commonly think of these areas of the body when it comes to cancer, there will be more than 650,000 new cases of these cancers worldwide in 2018. In order to promote awareness of head and neck cancers, the Head and Neck Surgery division of Greenville Ear, Nose and Throat Associates will hold a free screening on Friday, April 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute.
Oral, head and neck cancers refer to many types of cancers, including those that arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice box). Cancers of the oropharynx (tonsil and base of tongue) are increasing in incidence, particularly in younger nonsmokers, due to their association with the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is estimated that these cancers alone will account for over 13,000 cases per year, making them the most common HPV-related cancers in the U.S. according to the National Cancer Institute‘s Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.
Signs and symptoms of head and neck cancers include …
- Voice change or hoarseness
- Lump in the neck
- Red or white lesions in the mouth or throat that don’t heal
- Sore throat or swollen tonsils for longer than two weeks
- Difficulty or painful swallowing
- Unintentional weight loss
Major risk factors for head and neck cancer include tobacco use, alcohol use and poor oral hygiene. Individuals using both tobacco and alcohol have an even greater risk for head and neck cancer. However, tumors caused by HPV are being seen more and more frequently in patients without traditional risk factors for head and neck malignancy.
We encourage anyone with a concern for mouth, throat, skin or thyroid malignancy to take advantage of this opportunity. Early detection of head and neck malignancy dramatically improves the rate of cure and saves lives. Early detection also increases the amount of treatment options available to patients, including new minimally invasive offerings like transoral robotic surgery (TORS).
If you’re concerned at all about any of the symptoms listed above, the first step is to get screened. The screening is painless and takes less than 10 minutes. Although the screening is FREE, an appointment is required. Contact our office at (864) 455-5300 for scheduling and more information. Space is limited!
Paul Davis, MD, is a fellowship-trained head and neck surgeon with Greenville ENT.