In recognition of National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital, 350 Seymour Ave, Derby, is helping individuals reduce their risk for this potentially deadly disease.
Specially trained cancer care nurses and nutritionist will be available in the Center’s lobby on Mon., April 24 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., offering important information on healthy eating, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and smoking cessation. The event is free and open to the public.
“Three of the biggest risk factors for head and neck cancer are tobacco use, frequent alcohol use, and HPV,” said Dr. Denise Barajas, medical director of the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital. “You can reduce your risk by taking steps to mitigate these risk factors. This educational event will provide information on resources available to individuals to reduce their cancer risk, including Griffin’s free smoking cessation program.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 54,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in the U.S. this year, and more than 11,000 deaths. 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
- Difficulty swallowing
Individuals experiencing 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 203-732-1260.
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. 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.
For more information about the open house, call 203-732-1260. For more information about Griffin’s free smoking cessation program, visit griffinhealth.org/community/quit-smoking.