Head and Neck Cancer: Promote Awareness

Posted Thursday, April 23, 2015

Did You Know?

An estimated 59,340 people will develop head and neck cancer this year. 

Head and neck cancer is defined as a cancer that originates or develops in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth. It is estimated that head and neck cancer will account for an estimated 13,000 American deaths this year alone.   Although, head and neck cancer attributes for 3% of all cancers in the United States, the success rate for treatment is high if caught early.  Join the nationwide awareness and learn how you can educate your patients on risk factors, symptoms and how they can decrease their risk of head and neck cancer.

01 | Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use
  • Frequent and heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Poor oral/dental hygiene
  • Exposure to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) commonly known as the virus that causes mononucleosis or "mono."

02 | Symptoms and Signs

  • Swelling or sore that does not heal
  • Red or white patch in the mouth
  • Lump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area, with or without pain
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Foul mouth odor not explained by hygiene
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Nasal obstruction or persistent nasal congestion
  • Frequent nose bleeds and/or unusual nasal discharge
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Double vision
  • Numbness or weakness of a body part in the head and neck region
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaws or tongue
  • Ear and/or jaw pain
  • Blood in the saliva or phlegm
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

03 | Decrease Your Risk

  • Stop the use of all tobacco products
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Using suncreen regularly, including lip balm with an adequate sun protection factor (SPF)
  • Reducing your risk of HPV infection
  • Maintaining proper care of dentures. Poorly fitting dentures can trap tobacco and alcohol’s cancer-causing substances.
  • Visit your Dentist for regular cleanings and exams

For additional resources on head and neck cancer visit: www.cancer.gov

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