Press Releases

Head and Neck Cancers on the Rise, Free Screening April 4

Published: March 27, 2017

Approximately 100,000 Americans will develop oral, head and neck cancer this year – a number that has grown steadily over the last 10 years.

Symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, ear pain, a sore in the mouth or throat, voice changes or a lump in the neck. 

“Three of the six cancers in Americans that are increasing in incidence occur in the head and neck: skin cancer, thyroid cancer and HPV-associated tonsil and basal tongue cancer,” said Dr. William Lydiatt, surgical oncologist at the Head and Neck Oncology Clinic at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center. “Each of those is increasing at a rate of 4-5 percent per year. As a result, we see more patients here in our clinic.”

Those numbers are the biggest reason behind the free Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Screening coming on Tuesday, April 4 at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center. Doctors will look and feel for signs of disease to help patients get the treatment they may need.

“Catching these cancers early can have a significant effect on survivability and long-term health effects,” Dr. Lydiatt said. “Because they occur in the head and neck area, these cancers can impact speech, swallowing, breathing, taste, chewing, the process of speaking, changes in voice tone or tenor and it can also affect physical appearance depending on where the cancer is located.”

The screenings include a head and neck physical exam, as well as a review of the patient’s medical and family history. Methodist physicians will be looking for white or red lesions in the mouth, looking at and feeling the neck for lumps, both in the neck itself and the salivary and thyroid glands. They will also be looking at the back of the throat for asymmetry of the tonsils.

The screening, which will be held from 3 to 6 p.m., has limited availability and registration is required. To reserve an appointment call 402-354-5850.