Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
For Immediate Release
May 3, 2011
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Ten Minutes Can Save Your Life
Huntsman Cancer Institute Offers Free Head and Neck Cancer Screening May 14
Salt Lake City, May 3, 2011— Just because you can't feel it, doesn't mean it isn't there. That's the message that physicians at Huntsman Cancer Institute want people to understand about the dangers of head and neck cancers, and why a free head and neck cancer screening clinic will be held there on Saturday, May 14, from 8 a.m. to noon.
According to the American Cancer Society, head and neck cancers represent the sixth most common form of cancer in the U.S., with more than 50,000 cases diagnosed annually. Last year, Academy Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas made the news when he was diagnosed with advanced throat cancer. While he has since announced "a complete response" to treatment, 12,000 others died from some form of the disease last year.
"When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated with a higher chance of survival," said Brandon Bentz, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a surgical oncologist at Huntsman Cancer Institute. "People may not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which is why everyone needs to be screened."
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer may go unnoticed. However, there are signs associated with these cancers that require immediate medical attention, including:
- Red or white patches in the mouth that last 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
- Ear pain
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
Because 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use, the most effective prevention strategy continues to be the discontinuation of smoking or the use of chewing tobacco. Excessive alcohol consumption can compound these risks of developing this type of cancer. Even more alarming, this disease is also on the upswing in young adults, being linked to the rise of human papillomavirus (HPV), a cancer-causing virus that can be transmitted through oral sex.
The screening is quick, painless, and free. For more information, or to make an appointment for the free screening clinic, call the Huntsman Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100.
The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at The University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. HCI is a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, which means that it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) a not-for-profit alliance of the world's leading cancer centers, which is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. For more information about HCI, please visit www.huntsmancancer.org.