UW Health encourages head and neck cancer screenings

(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 9:11 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - UW Health is urging the public to get head and neck cancer screenings after a recent rise in serious cases has occurred at UW hospitals and clinic.

According to UW Health, head and neck cancers tend to be very curable, especially when they are found early. However, Dr. Tiffany Glazer, a head and neck cancer surgeon at UW Health, said that more and more people are coming in with severe cases and during late stages of the cancer.

“Patients are often referred to head and neck cancer experts by primary care physicians or dentists because those providers notice early signs,” Glazer said. “But unfortunately, those appointments were delayed or reduced by the pandemic,” she continued.

Head and neck cancer can be defined as any cancer that occurs in the throat, voice box, nose, sinuses, mouth, or skin, according to UW Health.

Symptoms can include, swallowing and breathing difficulty, speech impairment, neck masses, sinus or mouth bleeding, loose teeth, jaw problems, or red and white patches either along the mouth lining, gums, or tongue.

UW Health said that these cancers can be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

Glazer also said that she is seeing a growing number of patients whose head and neck cancer stems from human papillomavirus or HPV. Because of this, she recommends the HPV vaccine for families as it can help prevent multiple types of cancers.

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