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Public urged to attend free cancer
Cancer Center and the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation (YBF)
urge everyone to get screened for cancer during the Oral, Head and Neck
Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW), April 21-27. The week is highlighted
by a nationwide day of free screenings at more than 100 medical centers
Friday, April 25.
Locally, the screenings will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MUSC ENT
Associates, 1280 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite 205, Mount Pleasant;
Hollings Cancer Center, third floor, Charleston; Rutledge Tower ENT,
second floor, Charleston; and MUSC Specialty Care North, 8992
University Blvd., North Charleston; as well as at the Mobile Health
Unit in the Horseshoe on Ashley Avenue.
For all location information and to schedule an appointment, call
792-1414. To find a screening site, visit http://www.ohancaw.com.
According to the American Cancer Society, this year more than 40,000
Americans will be diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck, which
include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx. At least 7,550
will die from these cancers.
When diagnosed very early, oral and other head and neck cancers can be
more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances
of survival greatly increase, said Amanda Hollinger, OHANCAW
coordinator. However, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of
these cancers. This makes screening very important, especially for
those who are at high risk, such as tobacco and alcohol users.
The rate of these cancers has declined since 2005, when at least 65,000
were expected to be diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancer. Two
years ago, the American Cancer Society predicted that at least 12,500
people would succumb to OHNC. The decline is likely due to public
awareness and improved lifestyles. Survival can be linked to early
detection and treatment options. Even still, the incidence of some of
these cancers in young adults has increased, regardless of whether they
smoke, and some researchers have revealed an association with human
The rate of cancer in South Carolina is higher than in most states.
Oral, head and neck cancer refers to a variety of cancers that develop
in the head and neck region, such as the oral cavity (mouth), the
pharynx (throat), paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity; the larynx (voice
box), thyroid and salivary glands, the skin of the face and neck, and
the lymph nodes in the neck. Common warning signs of OHNC are:
- Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two
- Change in voice or hoarseness that lasts more than two
- Sore throat that does not subside
- Pain or swelling in the mouth or neck that does not subside
The most effective prevention strategy remains the cessation of risky
behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol
consumption. More than 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related
to tobacco use, while others may have a relationship to viral causes
such as human papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).
- Other warning signs that occur during later stages of the
disease include ear pain, difficulty speaking or swallowing and
Treatment of OHNC varies depending upon the extent of disease at the
initial diagnosis. Most patient's symptoms are managed with surgery,
but radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may also be utilized. After
undergoing radiation, some patients may develop a complication called
xerostomia, or dry mouth, which is caused by damage to their salivary
glands. Xerostomia, a common side effect of radiotherapy for head and
neck cancer, can be life-long in duration and affect one’s ability to
taste, swallow and even speak.
Surgery can leave patients with scarring and disfigurement of the face
and neck, as well as alterations in speech, sight, smell, chewing,
swallowing and taste perception. Recent advances in reconstructive
surgery have minimized some of these problems.
Cookbook for patients with
George Chajewski, head chef of MUSC catering, created a simple,
step-by-step cookbook filled with recipes suitable for various stages
of recovery for cancer patients. Proceeds from the sale of the book
help support YBF. These are available for purchase at the Looking Glass
at Hollings Cancer Center.
Chajewski is a survivor of squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth. He
will be preparing a special meal during the Yul Brynner Head and Neck
Cancer Foundation Survivors Banquet, April 25 at the Church of the Holy
Communion, 218 Ashley Ave. This is complimentary to survivors; all
others $35. Those interested in attending should call 792-6624.
About the Yul Brynner Head
and Neck Cancer Foundation
The mission of the YBF is to provide support to head and neck cancer
patients throughout the year; educate children and adults about the
disease process, treatment, and prevention of head and neck cancer, and
support ongoing research in head and neck oncology. The foundation was
established by the late, award-winning actor Yul Brynner, after he was
successfully treated for a pre-malignant growth on his voice box.
For more information, call 792-6624 or visit http://www.headandneck.org.
Friday, April 4, 2008
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