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Ten minutes that can save your life

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Just because you can't feel it, doesn't mean it isn't there. Just ask the more than 50,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck last year.  Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases.

Oral, head and neck cancer refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the tongue, tonsils, sinuses, larynx (voice box), thyroid and salivary glands, skin of the face and neck, and the lymph nodes in the neck. They claim approximately 12,000 lives per year.

If diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase. 

Emory's Department of Oral Surgery, the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the Department of Radiation Oncology are offering free oral cancer screenings during National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness week, April 22-28, 2012. The test is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.

Screenings are scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, 8am-12pm, 1365-A Clifton Rd. (Clinic A), 2nd Floor, Department of Otolaryngology and from 12pm-2pm, 1365-B Clifton Rd. (Clinic B), 2nd Floor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  No appointment is necessary; it is first come first served. Signs and volunteers will be available to direct participants where to go for their screening.

Experts say that every adult should be tested for oral cancer. Although tobacco and alcohol users are most at risk, throat cancer is on the rise in young adults who do not smoke.  Researchers attribute this rise to the increase of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which can be transmitted by oral sex. These cancers are harder to detect because they occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, providing all the more reason to get screened regularly.

For more information about the screenings at Emory, contact Meryl Kaufman at 404-686-4414 or

Media opportunities include interviews with Head and Neck Cancer patients and experts.

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