Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness
In 2020, we observe Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week from April 13th-19th. Since 71 percent of Americans have never been examined for these types of cancers, free screenings are offered during the Awareness week. Help us spread awareness by promoting the free screenings and spreading knowledge about symptoms with individuals who may be at risk.
Who is at Risk for Developing Oral, Head and Neck Cancer?
Those at risk include anyone who smokes or uses tobacco. Tobacco use accounts for 85% of all cases of oral, head and neck cancers. Excessive alcohol intake also puts you at risk and the combination of the two increases your risk dramatically.
Human papillomavirus is another common cause of cancer, especially of the throat. Epstein-Barr virus usually remains dormant in infected individuals. It can exhibit itself in the form of mono and has also been associated with nasopharynx cancer.
Men are 2-3 times more likely to develop some form of oral, head or neck cancer than women. Poor nutrition lacking in A and B vitamins can also increase your risk. People with poor dental hygiene are at an increased risk as well as sufferers of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Oral, head and neck cancers are found the squamous cells that line the head and neck. Symptoms can exhibit in the form of a lump in these areas. They may also cause a longterm sore throat or persistent fever. Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing and a change in voice.
Any of the above symptoms could also be indicators of a less serious condition. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s best to be seen by a medical professional to determine the exact cause.
Early diagnosis is imperative for preventing the development of these cancers. This is why the free screenings offered are so important to take part in. Last year hundreds of free screenings were offered in hospitals and medical centers across the country and the world. Free screenings can be found throughout the year, but the most availability occurs during the awareness week.
Simply ceasing tobacco use is a great way to prevent cancer from developing. Our bodies have the amazing ability to even reverse the damage that has already been done. Younger, healthy individuals have been known to develop oral, head and neck cancers more as a result of HPV. Receiving vaccination against the virus is essential to preventing these cancers.
How To Spread Awareness
Visit the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to find out more about how to host a free screening event. You can also search for free screening sites near you on their website.
In addition to attending a free screening, there are other events offered like runs, education workshops, galas, and silent auctions. It doesn’t take much to share a social media post or to communicate your own story with your sphere of influence. Do what you can to promote health and oral, head and neck cancer awareness. Together we can save lives.