Free head-and-neck cancer screenings offered

Andrew Coughlin, M.D.

Andrew Coughlin, M.D.

There will be two free head-and-neck cancer screenings held in April, and the UNMC community is invited to take part in the event.

“Early identification of head and neck cancers has an enormous impact on survival, as well as extent and modality of treatment,” said Andrew Coughlin, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery and a head and neck surgical oncologist. “Screening is non-invasive, painless, and free of cost. Besides abstaining from tobacco and alcohol use, screening is the most effective way a person can impact their survival and catch head and neck cancers early before it causes significant dysfunction.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 118,000 new cancers involving the head and neck region will be diagnosed in 2015. Nearly 14,000 patients will die of head and neck cancers this year. These cancers typically involve the lining of the mouth, throat, the voice box, and glands such as the thyroid and salivary glands.

Although anyone may develop these tumors, they are more likely to be diagnosed in patients who have one or more risk factors. These include tobacco use, routine alcohol intake, infections with viruses such as HPV, and in certain cases, a family history of similar tumors. Typically, patients are older and more likely to be men. However, some cancers seen in younger patients may be related to having multiple sexual partners and viral infections such as HPV.

Symptoms can include a sore in the mouth or sore throat that persists for more than a couple of weeks, hoarseness of voice, difficulty in swallowing and a painless lump in the neck. If you have experienced any such symptoms or have risk factors for head and neck cancers, or if you wish to know more about head and neck cancers, you should consider attending one of the free screenings.

Screening appointments are limited. Registration is required. Please call to schedule your screening at either of the two locations:

4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, April 9
Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center, 8303 Dodge St.

Call 402-354-5850 to schedule an appointment.

3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 14
Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center, 42nd and Emile Streets.

Call 800-922-0000 to schedule an appointment.