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Michael Douglas, Honored Film Star and Throat Cancer Survivor, Encourages Public to Attend Free Local Screenings During Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week
Date:4/6/2011

ife. Do it for your family."

"When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase," said Jatin P. Shah, M.D., Ph.D., a world leader in head and neck cancer surgery who is Professor of Surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Chief of the Head and Neck Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a member of the HNCA Board. "Many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which underscores the importance of everyone getting screened properly, not just those at high risk such as tobacco and alcohol users."

About Oral, Head and Neck Cancer

Oral, head and neck cancer  refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the oral cavity (mouth), the pharynx (throat), paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, the larynx (voice box), thyroid and salivary glands, the skin of the face and neck, and the lymph nodes in the neck.  

Common warning signs are:

  • Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two weeks
  • 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

Other warning signs that occur during later stages of the disease include:

  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

The most effective prevention strategy continues to be the cessation of behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.  Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use.   Research has linked the increase of oral cancer incidence in young adults, a population traditionally at low risk,
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SOURCE Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA)
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