ST. LOUIS - The Saint Louis University Cancer Center is hosting a free head and neck cancer screening on Friday, May 13, at the SLUCare Doctors Office Building, 3660 Vista Ave., Suite 312.
Anyone who smokes, chews or dips tobacco or drinks alcohol regularly is considered to be at high risk for developing head and neck cancer, and is encouraged to take advantage of the free screening on May 13.
"Screening of high risk individuals gives us the chance to find a tumor before there are any symptoms," said Mark Varvares, M.D., director of the Saint Louis University Cancer Center and the Donald Marlene Jerome Endowed Chair in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. "By catching head and neck cancers at an earlier stage we give individuals a greater chance for survival."
During the quick, 10-minute screening, a SLUCare physician will go over the individual's history, ask about potential risk factors and will complete a physical examination of the nose, lips, tongue, throat, voice box and neck for any signs of cancer.
Screenings will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients can park for free in the Tenet Parking Garage attached to the Doctors Office Building.
Reserve a spot by calling 314-977-4440 or 1-866-977-4440.
About Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer encompasses cancers of the throat, mouth, lips, nose, sinuses, neck, esophagus, larynx and trachea. Early symptoms of head and neck cancer may include a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or earache. Other potential signs include a lump in the neck, mouth sores that bleed easily or do not heal, voice changes and dentures that suddenly do not fit.
Head and neck cancers are relatively rare, accounting for only 6 percent of all cancer cases. However, Varvares says, the number of cases is unnecessarily high because head and neck cancers are largely preventable.
"The key is to avoid high risk behavior," Varvares said. "This means primarily tobacco in any form and excessive alcohol use."
In fact, 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use. In addition, people who use both tobacco and alcohol are more likely to develop these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.
Kicking the Habit
Because of the numerous health risks associated with smoking, the SLU Cancer Center continuously encourages smokers to kick the habit.To help individuals make this transition, the Cancer Center offers free smoking cessation classes four times throughout the year. Participants in the 8-week sessions receive the tools needed to motivate and lead them on the road to recovery. Personalized smoking cessation consultations are also available.
To learn more about these meetings, call (314) 268-7015, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLUCare, the physician practice of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants and related professionals who provide high-quality care for patients locally, regionally and nationally. SLUCare is the only academic medical practice in St. Louis fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care Inc. This accreditation is a voluntary process through which the quality of SLUCare services and performance is measured against nationally recognized standards. More information is available at www.slucare.edu.