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Media Contact: Christian Meagher, Communications Specialist

Griffin Hospital Tests 34 for Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer

By Alex Stackpole on 6/26/2019

The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby recently gave free oral, head and neck cancer screenings to 34 individuals in recognition of the Annual Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week®.

This is the eighth year Griffin has offered these free screenings to the community.

Participating physicians included Joseph Cardinale, M.D., Joyce Chung, M.D., Ken Yanagisawa, M.D., Ronald Hirokawa, M.D., George Hanna, M.D., Arijeet Gattu, M.D., Archana Khandelwal, M.D., Nisar Khan M.D., and Komaldeep Singh, M.D. Students of the University of Bridgeport, Fones School of Dental Hygiene.

As a result of the screenings, 28 individuals were referred for routine follow-up screenings, and six were referred for further head and neck evaluation.

In the past eight years of this program, more than 430 free screenings have been conducted, with more than 51 instances of individuals being referred for follow-up screenings that could have saved their lives.

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance estimates that there will be more than 550,000 new cases of oral, head and neck cancer diagnosed worldwide in 2019, and many individuals will not be aware of their cancer until it has reached an advanced stage. Oral, head and neck cancer is now ranked in the top six cancers worldwide.

Last year, 63 individuals were screened at the Center. As a result of the screenings, four individuals were referred for further evaluation.

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.

About the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital

Opened in October, 2008, Griffin Hospital's Center for Cancer Care provides care that's comprehensive, comforting, and close to home. The Center provides access to Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, and a range of affiliated physicians under the same roof in a Planetree-inspired healing environment. Support services include a Patient Care Navigator, dietary/nutritional consultations, genetic counseling, social work services, spiritual care, education and support groups, and a variety of non-traditional therapies to reduce anxiety. For more information, visit griffincancercenter.org or call 203-732-1260.

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