Approximately 110,000 people are diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancers every year in the United States. Fortunately, many of these cancers are preventable and can be successfully treated if caught early. InterCommunity Cancer Center (ICCC) is encouraging people to learn more about these potentially life threatening diseases during Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness month this April.
Understanding Oral, Head and Neck Cancers
Oral cancers usually begin in the squamous cells inside the mouth, nose and throat. Head and neck cancers are identified by the area where the cancer occurs, including: the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and salivary glands. These cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women.
Early Detection and Treatment Provides Better Outcomes
Roughly 66 percent of oral cancers are not discovered until the disease has advanced, making them difficult to treat. Early detection is critical, but a Harris poll found 71 percent of Americans have never been examined by a medical professional for oral, head or neck cancer.
“Every person should be proactive and make sure these exams are part of their routine physicals and dental visits,” said Dr. David J. Catalano, medical director and radiation oncologist at ICCC in Lady Lake, Fla. “When these diseases are detected early, there is a much greater opportunity for a positive outcome.”
Approximately 90 percent of oral, head and neck cancers arise from prolonged exposure to risks that can be reduced by behavior modification. Tobacco use and consumption of alcoholic beverages are the most preventable and common causes of cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and tongue. Prolonged
exposure to sunlight is another risk factor, as it is linked to cancer of the lip as well as skin cancer. Throat cancer also occurs as a result of infection from the human papilloma virus (HPV).
The Connection to HPV
Each year, an estimated 26,000 young non-smokers develop mouth and throat cancer attributable to the human-papilloma virus. Fortunately, these cancers respond well to radiation and chemotherapy. HPV vaccination is recommended for children ages 11-12 to help prevent these cancers.
The three main types of treatment for oral, head and neck cancers are radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy, with radiation as a primary treatment. An advanced, high-precision radiotherapy treatment for these cancers, called Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), is available at ICCC. It delivers high radiation doses to a malignant tumor by precisely conforming to the threedimensional shape of the tumor. By controlling the intensity of the radiation beam, a higher dose can be given to the tumor while minimizing exposure to healthy cells.
An article published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society, reported significant benefits in using IMRT to treat head and neck cancers. The study compared the survival rates of 3,172 head-and-neck-cancer patients treated with IMRT to those receiving conventional radiation treatments, finding a 38.9 percent survival rate for IMRT patients versus an 18.9 percent survival rate for those receiving traditional treatment.
“We have made tremendous progress over the past few years treating head and neck cancers with innovative radiation therapies,” noted Dr. Catalano. “It is very rewarding to bring these new advancements, such as IMRT, to our community so patients have convenient access to the latest therapies that offer the best outcome and quality of life.”
ABOUT INTERCOMMUNITY CANCER CENTER
InterCommunity Cancer Center (ICCC) has more than 30 years of experience providing quality, personalized cancer care in the Lady Lake and Leesburg communities and has treated more than 10,000 patients. Medical Director and Radiation Oncologist Dr. David J. Catalano has expertise in treating breast, lung, prostate, gynecologic, skin and other cancers. ICCC is part of The US Oncology Network, a physician-led network of integrated, community-based oncology practices supported by McKesson Specialty Health. This affiliation provides patients and practices a best-in-class platform and a robust suite of customizable offerings and services, including comprehensive oncology management services across radiation oncology, surgical specialties and medical oncology while focusing on community-based oncology care and innovative value-based cancer services. ICCC has access to clinical information and best practices from the treatment of more than 800,000 patients annually. This enables highly effective, peer-collaborated care, empowering ICCC to offer academic-quality treatment in a community-based setting, providing exceptional cancer care close to home.
To learn more, visit www.ICCCVantage.com or call (352) 674-6300.
Symptoms That May Occur Symptoms of oral, head and neck cancers include:
. A lump in the neck that lasts several weeks
. Change in the voice such as hoarseness
. A growth in the mouth such as a sore or swelling that doesn’t go away
. Blood in saliva or phlegm for more than a few days
. Swallowing problems
. Persistent earache or pain near the ear when swallowing