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Free Screenings for Oral, Head and Neck Cancer - May 2012

Medical News

Marketing & Public Relations Contact:
Mary Sommise
(727) 514-2652

April 30, 2012

Pasco/Pinellas/Hillsborough County, Florida – Medical Center of Trinity will offer free oral, head and neck cancer screenings on Thursday, May 10, 2012. The screening is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.

  • The free cancer screening will be held at Medical Center of Trinity from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Thursday, May 10, 2012.
  • Pre-registration is required. Please call 727-834-5630.

Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  Just ask the more than 50,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck last year.  Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx, and by the time they are diagnosed, for some, it’s too late.

According to the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA), oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 12,000 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. 

Who should get tested?

Every adult. Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers.  However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and 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.

What are the potential warning signs of oral cancers?

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed.  However, there are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention, including:

  • 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

“When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase,” said Terry Day, MD, President of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.  “Many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which underscores the importance of everyone getting screened properly, not just those at high risk such as tobacco and alcohol users.”

About Oral, Head and Neck Cancer

Oral, head and neck cancer  refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the tongue, tonsils, sinuses, the larynx (voice box), thyroid and salivary glands, the skin of the face and neck, and the lymph nodes in the neck. 

The most effective prevention strategy continues to be the cessation of behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use.  Research has linked the increase of tongue and tonsil cancer incidence in young adults, a population traditionally at low risk, to the rise of human papillomavirus (HPV), a cancer-causing virus that can be transmitted through oral sex.

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