April 18, 2004 – April 19-25 has been designated national Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.
The focus of the week, sponsored by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, is "to advance, through public and professional education, the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of head and neck cancers, as well as rehabilitation and support for its survivors.," according to a release from Dr. Adam Shapiro of Virgin Islands Ear, Nose & Throat.
In observance of the week locally, Shapiro and his practice will conduct free head and neck cancer screening on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Suite 111 of the V.I. Medical Foundation Building on St. Thomas.
Appointments for screenings are required. They may be made by calling 774-8881 or via secure online scheduling.
"Throat cancer is a very serious condition requiring immediate medical attention," the release stated. "When cancer attacks the vocal cords or throat tissues, voice and swallowing problems can occur."
Prompt attention to such changes facilitates early diagnosis and early successful treatment. Especially for persons who smoke and drink alcohol, "persistent hoarseness, change in voice, trouble swallowing or a swelling in the head or neck should prompt an evaluation by an otolaryngologist to determine if cancer is present."
Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week was begun in 1998 by the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation. Brynner, an acclaimed Broadway and Hollywood actor, died of lung cancer in 1985.
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