Section: Saint Barnabas Medical Center News

Ten Minutes That Could Save Your Life: Free Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Screening


Free Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Screening Offered
on March 30, 2017 in West Orange, NJ

Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just ask the more than 100,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck (including thyroid) last year. Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which include cancers of the oral cavity, thyroid, larynx and pharynx, and by the time they are diagnosed, for some, it’s too late.

Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 14,000 lives per year. However, there is hope; if diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase.

Screening is recommended for every adult. While tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers, it is on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke. Recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, a cancer-causing infection that can be transmitted by oral sex. HPV-related oral cancers are more difficult to detect because these cancers usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, providing even more reason to get screened regularly.

Though the signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed, there are a few visible signs that require immediate attention. Those with any of the following should not wait for the free screenings but seek immediate medical attention:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn't heal or that increases in size
  • Persistent pain in your mouth
  • Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing or moving your tongue
  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Changes in your voice
  • A lump in your neck

An oral, head and neck cancer screening is painless and takes only 10 minutes. Physicians with The Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer Institute at Saint Barnabas Medical Center will provide free screenings on March 30, 2017, throughout the day at the Atkins Kent Building, 101 Old Short Hills Road, Suite 301, West Orange. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. While screenings are free, an appointment is required by calling 1-888-724-7123.