Patient exam

Patient exam

Health: Free Head and Neck Cancer Screening December 7 at Northwestern Medicine Orland Park

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Northwestern Medicine will offer a free head and neck cancer screening at its Orland Park location from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 7.

The non-invasive oral, head and neck screening will check for abnormal, irregular, or discolored areas or lumps that are different on one side compared to the other.

Northwestern Medicine Orland Park is located at 15300 West Avenue. Please use entrance 1. Registration is not required.

Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide with approximately 68,000 cases diagnosed per year in the United States according to the National Cancer Institute.  Head and neck cancers usually develop within the squamous cells, the moist cells that line the inside of the mouth, nose, and throat. Head and neck cancers can also begin in the sinuses, salivary glands, muscles or nerves of the head and neck.

“Screening programs are often a simple and effective method for detecting cancer.  Early detection is one of the most important aspects of being able to treat cancer successfully,” said Samer R. Rajjoub, MD, endocrine surgery at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital.  “We chose to focus our efforts on head and neck cancer this year, which despite being the sixth most common cancer worldwide, is much less publicized.  I sincerely hope the community will take advantage and benefit from the free screening event.”

Alcohol and tobacco use, including the use of smokeless tobacco, are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers.  At least 75 percent of cancers are caused by alcohol and tobacco use.  The most common sexually transmitted infection: human papillomavirus (HPV) is also a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers of the tonsils and base of the tongue.

Other risks factors for head and neck cancers include history of oral lesions, family history of thyroid cancer, occupational exposure, and a history of radiation therapy.

Participants with risk factors would benefit from a screening.  There is an 80% survival rate when head and neck cancer is found early. Participants with abnormal results will be contacted by medical staff for follow up.

To learn more about Northwestern Medicine, visit nm.org.

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