Free head, neck cancer screenings set for April

For Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, UNMC physicians are part of an effort to provide free oral, head and neck cancer screenings in April.

Screenings will be held from 3-6 p.m. April 12 at Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center, and from 4-6 p.m. April 14 at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center, 8303 Dodge St. Registration is required.

“Prevention of head and neck cancers consists of several phases,” said Oleg Militsakh, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at UNMC and director of the head and neck reconstructive program at Nebraska Medicine.

“Most people, when asked about prevention, immediately think of what is called a primary prevention,” Dr. Militsakh said. “Primary prevention targets known risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and behaviors linked to exposure to certain viruses (e.g. HPV) or other environmental elements. On the other hand, secondary prevention refers to detection of precancerous lesions or earlier stage tumors. These lesions frequently can be detected on routine clinical exams before they ever become symptomatic.

“Furthermore, if for example oral cavity cancer is detected at early stage, frequently we can eliminate the need for radiation therapy or chemotherapy altogether. Similarly, a surgical treatment is not as extensive for early stage cancers, and we can frequently avoid the need for complex reconstructive procedures.

“Both primary and secondary prevention phases are addressed by this screening event, which provides the public a unique opportunity to learn about head and neck cancers and obtain a free screening,” he said.

Screening appointments are limited. Registration is required. Call to schedule your screening at:

  • Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center: 1-800-922-0000
  • Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center: 402.354.5850