Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Experts Working to Increase Awareness
Each year, National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month is observed in April, and the Cancer Center’s Head and Neck MDC Team is using this opportunity to increase education and foster a healthier community
(Baton Rouge, La.) Because more than 60,000 people are diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancers every year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Team (Head and Neck MDC Team) at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is encouraging more people to become educated about these diseases. Each year, National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month is observed in April, and the Cancer Center’s Head and Neck MDC Team is using this opportunity to increase education and foster a healthier community.
ACS reports that three percent of all cancers each year are represented by nasal cavity, sinus, lip, mouth, salivary gland, throat or larynx cancers. While these diseases are less common than some other cancers, they are some of the most complex to treat.
Dr. Daniel Nuss, Chair of the Cancer Center’s Head and Neck MDC Team and ranked in the top one percent of ear, nose and throat physicians by U.S. News & World Report, says that he and his colleagues are concerned about the lack of awareness of oral, head and neck cancers and feel it is important for everyone to become educated about these diseases.
“Symptoms of these cancers may be as simple as a sore throat or earache that doesn’t go away, or a lump in the neck or sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal,” said Dr. Nuss. “A simple, painless screening for oral, head and neck cancer is something you want to incorporate in your annual health check-up. Just like every other cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better the chances are for a positive outcome. Many of these cancers are curable. It’s important to have this conversation with your doctor.”
For Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Center’s team of renowned experts is primarily focusing on individuals most at risk for these diseases, particularly those who use tobacco and/or alcohol. However, there is also a substantial focus on educating younger people. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that the quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population is young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to the human papillomavirus (HPV). This means those with HPV need to know their risks and the warning signs for the disease.
The Cancer Center offers an array of head and neck cancer services. Some of these resources include:
- A multidisciplinary cancer care (MDC) team consisting of surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists and other specialists who work together to ensure the highest level of care for oral, head and neck cancer patients
- National Cancer Institute clinical trials
- Free oral cavity screenings
- Radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery
For information on any of the topics mentioned here, please visit mbpolol.org/headandneck.
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advanced technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program and extensive supportive care services. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit mbpolol.org.