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Head and neck cancer screenings offered during the Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS -- (July 27, 2011) -- For the third consecutive year, race fans at the Brickyard 400 can undergo a free head and neck cancer screening.

Ticket holders can be screened from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 30 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 31. Screening tents will be located on the east side of the Hall of Fame Museum lot. For more information, call (866)792-4622 or visit www.headandneck.org.

Volunteers from the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, the IU School of Medicine and IU Health will provide the screenings in partnership with the South Carolina-based Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.

The screenings, which are quick and painless, involve a health-care professional examining an individual’s mouth and ears, as well as feeling their facial area and neck for abnormalities.

Over the past two years, nearly 1,000 head and neck cancer screenings have been performed during the Brickyard 400. Of those screened, more than 230 individuals were advised to seek further medical attention.

According to the American Cancer Society, head and neck cancers represent the sixth most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 50,000 cases diagnosed annually.

What is head and neck cancer?

Oral, head and neck cancer (OHNC) refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the oral cavity (mouth); the pharynx (throat); paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity; the larynx (voice box); salivary glands; and the lymph nodes in the upper neck.

What are the warning signs and symptoms?

  • Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two weeks
  • Change in voice or hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks
  • Sore throat that does not subside
  • Pain or swelling in the mouth or neck that does not subside
  • Lump in the neck

Other warning signs that occur during later stages of the disease include:

  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

Prevention

The most effective prevention strategy remains the cessation of risky behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use. Research has linked the increase of oral cancer incidence in young adults, a population traditionally at low risk, to the rise of human papillomavirus (HPV), a cancer-causing virus that can be transmitted through oral sex. Patients who are diagnosed with early-stage cancers of the head and neck have a significantly higher survival rate than those with later stages of the disease. 

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 About Head and Neck Cancer Alliance

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) was established in 2008 to create a coalition in the fight against head and neck cancer. Formerly the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, HNCA seeks to enable an organized and strategic alliance of all stakeholders to dramatically shift the stage of discovery of head and neck cancers through united and collaborative efforts in prevention, early detection and research. Each year, HNCA sponsors Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW) in May to educate the public about these potentially life-threatening, but eminently treatable, cancers, and to promote prevention, screening and early detection. For more information, visit www.headandneck.org.

Funding for the screening is provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly and Company.