Event to coincide with national Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week in April
MAYWOOD, Ill. - Oral, head and neck cancers - most of which are preventable - account for approximately 3 percent of all cancer cases in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2007, more than 40,000 Americans were diagnosed these cancers and 7,500 died.
To help combat cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx, Loyola University Medical Center will offer free screenings for oral, head and neck cancers as part of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, April 17-23, a nationwide event that was started nine years ago by the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.
"Oral and other head and neck cancers remain a target for early detection. When diagnosed very early, it is easier to treat and cure," said Dr. Chad Zender, assistant professor, department of otolaryngology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood.
The screenings will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 17 in Clinic A of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood, Ill. Screenings will be open to the public and will be done by Loyola physicians and nurses. The screenings, which take less than 10 minutes to perform, will include a visual examination of the inside of the mouth and check for swellings or lumps in the head and neck.
Office hours will be available for anyone with an abnormal checkup and emergency cases will be immediately treated. Parking and refreshments will be free. Appointments are required for the screenings. To make an appointment, call (888) LUHS-888.
The event will also include information on how to prevent oral, head and neck cancers and counseling on ways to reduce risk factors and making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and heavy alcohol use, said Patricia Mumby, PhD, associate professor, department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, Stritch School of Medicine.
"More than 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use, making this one of the most preventable diseases of our time," said Mumby, who provides counseling to patients in Loyola's Smoking Cessation Clinic. "It's heartbreaking to see people suffering who didn't have to. We hope to encourage people to get regular checkups and to eliminate high-risk habits like smoking."
Common warning signs of oral, head & neck cancer include:
- Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two years - Change in voice or hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks - Sore throat that does not subside - Pain or swelling in the mouth or neck that does not subside - Lump in the neck
Warning signs that occur during the later stages of the disease include: - Ear pain - Difficulty speaking or swallowing - Difficulty breathing