The UTHealth Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery offered a free cancer screening clinic last April in observance of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, sponsored by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, formerly known as the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.

“Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 13,000 lives each year,” says Ron Karni, MD, an assistant professor in the department. “If diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and chances of survival greatly increase.”

Oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults, due in part to the prevalence of the human papillomavirus (HPV). “HPV-related oral, head and neck cancers are more difficult to detect because these cancers occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, underscoring the importance of screening,” says Etan Weinstock, MD, FACS, who with Dr. Karni screened 62 patients as part of the annual event.

Participation exceeded expectations, and the Department is planning similar cancer screenings during next year’s Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.

Light micrograph of oral squamous cell carcinoma

Light micrograph of oral squamous cell carcinoma