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Free Oral Cancer Screenings Available at SCI

March 15, 2017

Getting screened for head and neck cancer is as simple as opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue.

The easy, painless five-minute exam will be offered free at Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at Southern Illinois University Medicine from 4:30 - 6 p.m. on Monday, April 3, and Monday April 24 at SCI, 315 W. Carpenter St., Springfield.

Appointments for the free screening can be made by calling 217-545-7493 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Parking for the screenings is available in the parking lot adjacent to Simmons Cancer Institute, which is accessible from W. Carpenter St.

Regular check-ups and early detection can find a head and neck cancer in its early stages or a condition that may lead to it. Accounting for approximately four percent of all cancers in the United States, head and neck cancers are more common in men and in people over age 50.

Pardis Javadi, MD, and Arun Sharma, MD, MS, will lead the screening effort, which is offered in April each year as part of National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Both Javadi and Sharma are assistant professors of otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery at SIU School of Medicine. They see patients at Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU.

Warning signs for head and neck cancers include:

  • persistent earache or sore throat
  • difficulty or pain with swallowing
  • hoarseness lasting more than one month
  • an ulcer in the mouth or throat that does not heal
  • or a lump in the neck or thyroid gland

People who smoke or chew tobacco, or consume alcohol regularly are at higher risk and should also be tested. Physicians 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.

The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service. Its website is