ST. LOUIS -- April is National Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Month, and to promote prevention and early detection of these cancers SLUCare otolaryngologists will hold their annual free head and neck cancer screenings Fri., April 27, in Suite 312 of the Doctors Office Building. The screenings are held in conjunction with the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (formerly known as the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation).
|Mark Varvares, M|
During the quick, 10-minute screening, a SLUCare physician will go over the individual's history, ask about potential risk factors and will complete a physical examination of the nose, lips, tongue, throat, voice box and neck for any signs of cancer.
Screenings fill up fast, so those interested are encouraged to reserve a spot ahead of time by calling the SLUCare Call Center at (314) 977-4440.
About Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer encompasses cancers of the throat, mouth, lips, nose, sinuses, neck, esophagus, larynx and trachea. Early symptoms of head and neck cancer may include a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or earache. Other potential signs include a lump in the neck, mouth sores that bleed easily or do not heal, voice changes and dentures that suddenly do not fit.
Head and neck cancers are relatively rare, accounting for only 6 percent of all cancer cases. However, the number of head and neck cancers linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) has increased sharply over the past two decades, making screenings more important than ever.
"There's a common misconception that people who smoke are the only ones at risk for developing head and neck cancers," said Mark Varvares, M.D., director of the Saint Louis University Cancer Center and the Donald Marlene Jerome Endowed Chair in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. "That simply is not the case. Everyone should be aware of the potential signs of these cancers."
At the same time, Varvares warns that anyone who smokes, chews or dips tobacco or drinks alcohol regularly is considered to be at high risk for developing head and neck cancer. In fact, 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use, and people who use both tobacco and alcohol are more likely to develop these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.
"If everyone got the HPV vaccine, didn't smoke or chew tobacco and didn't consume alcohol, then oral cancers would virtually disappear," Varvares said.
Because of the numerous health risks associated with smoking, the SLU Cancer Center continuously encourages smokers to kick the habit. To help individuals make this transition, the Cancer Center offers free smoking cessation classes four times throughout the year. Participants in the seven-week sessions receive the tools needed to motivate and lead them on the road to recovery. Personalized smoking cessation consultations are also available.
To learn more about these meetings, call (314) 268-7015, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLUCare, the physician practice of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants and related professionals who provide high-quality care for patients locally, regionally and nationally. SLUCare is the only academic medical practice in St. Louis fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care Inc. This accreditation is a voluntary process through which the quality of SLUCare services and performance is measured against nationally recognized standards. More information is available at www.slucare.edu.