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Griffin Hospital offers free oral, head and neck cancer screenings April 11

By on 3/19/2018

Griffin Hospital will offer free oral, head and neck cancer screenings from 4-6 p.m. on Wed., April 11 at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital, 350 Seymour Ave., Derby.

This is the seventh straight year Griffin has offered the free screenings to the community. Held during Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week®, the free screenings aim to catch cancers that arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice box) at an early, and treatable stage.

“We encourage our community members to participate in our free head and neck screening,” said Dr. Joseph Cardinale, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Griffin Hospital. “Individuals will receive a thorough exam and learn more of the symptoms of head and neck cancers, which include: a lump or a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty in swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious conditions. However, it’s important to get screened right away. For our community members who are tobacco users or who have the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), we strongly urge each individual to get screened as both are high risk factors for oral, head and neck cancers.”

The screening is painless and takes about 10 minutes. Space for the free screenings is limited, so early registration is encouraged. To register, call 203-732-1280.

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance estimates that there will more than 63,000 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, throat and thyroid world-wide, and approximately 13,00 deaths from these cancers in the United States. Cancers of the oropharynx (tonsil and base of tongue) are increasing in incidence, particularly in younger nonsmokers, and it is estimated that these cancers alone will account for over 40,000 cases per year in the United States

Last year, 55 individuals were screened at the Center. As a result of the screenings, four individuals were referred for further evaluation, three individuals were referred to a dermatologist for skin lesions and one participant was referred to for immediate follow-up for a suspected neoplasm.

About Oral Head and Neck Cancer

Most oral cancers arise on the lips, tongue or the floor of the mouth. They also may occur inside the cheeks, on the gums or on the roof of the mouth. Oropharyngeal cancers related to HPV are often found in the tonsil or base of tongue. Other head and neck cancers arise from the voice box or throat, or from salivary (spit) glands or the thyroid gland.

Some early signs and symptoms include:

  • A red or white spot in your mouth that doesn't heal or that increases in size
  • Sore throat or swollen tonsil
  • Changes in your voice
  • A lump in your neck
  • Earache
  • Difficulty swallowing

Tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use are very high risk factors for oral, head and neck cancers, particularly those of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk for developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has recently emerged as having a connection to oropharyngeal (tonsil and base of tongue) cancer, particularly in non-smokers and younger age groups.

While anyone can develop thyroid cancers, a family history or exposure to radiation is considered a risk factor that may increase the risk. Most salivary gland cancers do not seem to be associated with any particular cause.

If you have any of these warning signs, do not wait for the free screenings. Contact your physician or call the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital at 203-732-1280.

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