Lori Hamilton, Wife of NASCAR Legend Bobby Hamilton, Urges Public to Attend Free Cancer Screenings During Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW)
Free oral cancer screenings also being held at select NASCAR races this year
According to the American Cancer Society, last year an estimated 35,300 Americans were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck — which include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx — and about 7,600 died from the disease.
“Bobby’s diagnosis hit us hard out of left field. After learning so much about the disease we became huge advocates of early detection and real believers in the screening process,” said
“When diagnosed early, oral and other head and neck cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase,” said
Oropharyngeal cancer — cancer of the tonsil or base of the tongue — is on the rise in populations normally considered to be at low risk, including young adults who don’t smoke. Researchers have attributed this development partly to the increase of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which can be transmitted by oral sex. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions concluded that potentially HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers increased in the U.S. from 1973 to 2004, perhaps as a result of changing sexual behaviors.
For more information about OHANCAW, the free screenings and other activities, visit www.OHANCAW.com.
About Oral, Head & Neck Cancer
Oral, head & neck cancer (OHNC) refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as: the oral cavity (mouth); the pharynx (throat); paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity; 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 of OHNC 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. More than 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use, while others may have a relationship to viral causes such as HPV and Epstein-Barr Virus.
About Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week
Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW), coordinated by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, formerly the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, is a week in April annually dedicated to educating the public about these potentially life-threatening but highly treatable cancers, and to promoting prevention, screening and early detection. For more information, please visit the OHANCAW website at www.OHANCAW.com.
Funding for the OHANCAW free screenings was provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb and ImClone Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company.
Media Contact: Jennifer McGuire or Alanna Jamieson MCS Healthcare Public Relations on behalf of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) (800) 477-9626
SOURCE Head and Neck Cancer Alliance