Peter Tork, Former Member of The Monkees and Tongue Cancer Survivor, Encourages Public to Attend Free Local Screenings During Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week®
NEW YORK, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Popular recording artist, actor and former member of The Monkees, Peter Tork, who is himself an oral cancer survivor, is urging Americans to get screened for cancer during the 15(th) annual Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week(®) (OHANCAW(®)), being held nationwide April 22-28. More than 200 sites throughout the country will offer free oral, head and neck cancer screenings during OHANCAW, which is sponsored by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA). Information about the free screenings and local sites can be found at www.headandneck.org.
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According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 52,610 new cases of head and neck cancers will be diagnosed in 2012 with an estimated 11,500 of those cases resulting in death.
Mr. Tork is best known as a member of the iconic 1960s TV, recording and performing group, The Monkees, whose number one hits include “I’m A Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.” He was diagnosed in March, 2009 with adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), a relatively rare cancer that typically occurs in the salivary glands, on the lower part of his tongue. Following surgery to remove the tumor and courses of radiation, Mr. Tork was declared free of any detectable cancer.
“Fortunately, I am grateful to say my cancer was detected early enough for me to undergo successful surgery and follow-up treatment,” said Mr. Tork. “I encourage everyone to get screened for oral, head and neck cancers by taking advantage of the free screenings offered during OHANCAW at hundreds of local facilities throughout the country. Early detection and treatment can improve outcomes. Get screened and increase your chances for living a full and healthy life.”
“When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase,” said Terry Day, MD, President of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. “Many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which underscores the importance of everyone getting screened properly, not just those at high risk such as tobacco and alcohol users.”
About Oral, Head and Neck Cancer
Oral, head and neck cancer refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the tongue, tonsils, sinuses, the larynx (voice box), thyroid and salivary glands, the skin of the face and neck, and the lymph nodes in the neck.
Common warning signs are:
- Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two weeks
- Change in voice or hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks
- Sore throat that does not subside
- Pain or swelling in the mouth or neck that does not subside
- Lump in the neck
Other warning signs that occur during later stages of the disease include:
- Ear pain
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
The most effective prevention strategy continues to be the cessation of behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use. Research has linked the increase of tongue and tonsil cancer incidence in young adults, a population traditionally at low risk, to the rise of human papillomavirus (HPV), a cancer-causing virus that can be transmitted through oral sex.
About Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week
Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week(®) (OHANCAW(®)), coordinated by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA), is a week annually dedicated to educating the public about these potentially life-threatening but highly treatable cancers, and to promoting prevention, screening and early detection. OHANCAW is highlighted by the free screenings and related activities held at participating medical centers across the country. The screenings are quick, painless, and designed to advance early diagnosis, which can lead to better outcomes. OHANCAW is sponsored by the HNCA.
The 15th annual Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week will be held April 22-28, 2012. The HNCA is encouraging all supporters to host a free screening event. For the past five years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided funding for the free screenings as part of the company’s support of OHANCAW. For more information, please visit the OHANCAW website at www.headandneck.org.
About the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance
The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) was established in 2008 to create a coalition in the fight against head and neck cancer. Formerly the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, HNCA expands on existing strengths to enhance the overall effort in prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation. Our mission includes:
- Public awareness
HNCA seeks to enable an organized and strategic alliance of all stakeholders to dramatically shift the stage of discovery of head and neck cancers through united and collaborative efforts in prevention, early detection and research. Its mission involves:
- Providing support to head and neck cancer patients throughout the year
- Supporting ongoing research in head and neck oncology
- Educating children and adults in the disease process, treatment and prevention of head and neck cancer
SOURCE Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA)