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April 10, 2009

SIU Med School 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 sponsored by the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  The screening is part of National Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.

The special screenings will be 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 27 and 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, May 2, in SIU’s Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) clinic on the fifth floor (room 5B) of St. John’s Pavilion, 301 N. 8th Street, Springfield.

“More than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with cancer of the head and neck region,” said Dr. James Malone, associate professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery and member of the SimmonsCooper 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 surgeon Dr. Sandra Ettema, assistant professor in otolaryngology head and neck surgery, will join Malone and other staff from the division to 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 neck 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 Pam in SIU’s Department of Surgery 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at 217-545-6150.  Parking is available in the Mason Street parking ramp or east of the Pavilion.

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thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155