More young people are getting diagnosed with throat cancer than ever before. To help the community stop the disease quicker, Mercy is offering free screenings during Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.
“Throat (oropharyngeal) and mouth (oral) cancer patients used to primarily be people 60 years of age and older, but it’s dropped to the 30-50 age range,” said Mercy’s Dr. Daniel Pinheiro. “With the advent of HPV and changes in sexual behaviors, we’ve seen a rise in throat cancer. Mouth cancer continues to be related to alcohol, as well as chewing and smoking tobacco.”
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with either cancer each year, and nearly 10,000 die from them. That’s why Mercy is hosting a free screening event from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the MSU Care Clinic, located at 640 E. Cherry Street. The clinic serves uninsured low-income adult patients, ages 18-64, in an enhanced primary care educational environment.
“The most common symptom of oral or oropharyngeal cancers is a lump in your neck,” Dr. Pinheiro said. “And most cases we see are on the tonsil and base of the tongue. When it comes to cancers in the mouth, throat and larynx, the most modifiable risk factor is cigarette smoking.”
The April 21 screenings at the MSU Care Clinic are sponsored by Mercy Clinic Head and Neck Surgery and the Mercy Cancer Resource Center. Appointments are required; contact Melissa Schroeder at 417-820-3324 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit.
“And if you are diagnosed with oral cancer, Mercy is here to help,” Dr. Pinheiro said. “From speech pathologists to dietitians, Mercy helps patients before, during and after treatment, and also over the long term with cancer survivorship.” To learn more about cancer care at Mercy Springfield, click here.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.