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April 3, 2012

Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU Offers Free Head and Neck Cancer Screenings

People who smoke or chew tobacco, consume alcohol regularly or have a family history of head and neck cancer are invited to a free head and neck cancer screening being sponsored by Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU as part of National Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. The special screenings will be held 4-6 p.m. Monday, April 23, and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Simmons Cancer Institute, 315 W. Carpenter St., Springfield.

“More than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with cancer of the head and neck region,” said Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery and director of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU. “More than 85 percent of these cancers are related to tobacco use. This screening is part of an effort to educate people to get regular checkups and to eliminate high-risk habits like smoking.”

SIU head and neck surgeons will perform the screenings. They will take a brief patient history, ask about potential risk factors and look for cancer that affects the ears, nose, mouth, throat, voice box, neck and thyroid gland.

People who use tobacco or alcohol and/or have the following warning signs are encouraged to get screened:  persistent earache or sore throat, difficulty or pain with swallowing, hoarseness lasting more than two weeks, an ulcer in the mouth or throat that does not heal, or a lump in the neck or thyroid gland. Head and next cancers account for approximately 4 percent of all cancers in the United States. They are more common in men and in people over age 50.

Individuals are asked to register in advance by calling Annette in the SIU surgery department from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at 217-545-7133. Parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the Simmons Cancer Institute building.