The Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital will conduct free screenings for national oral, head and neck cancer during Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week, April 14-20.

The screenings are quick, painless, and designed to advance early diagnosis, which can lead to better outcomes.


Friday, April 19, 2013 — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Pennsylvania Hospital
Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (adjacent to the Spruce Building)
811 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

For more information, please call 215.829.6466; to register, please call 1.800.789.PENN (7366). While registration by phone is preferred, walk-ins are welcome!

Screening for oral, head and neck cancers is quick and painless. It involves just a few minutes of looking in the mouth and throat with a light and feeling the salivary glands, thyroid glands and neck lymph nodes. Any knot or abnormality that lasts more than two weeks – like a red or white patch on the tongue, a voice change or a lump on the neck – requires closer examination and should be evaluated by a physician.

Oral Head and Neck Cancer is:

  • Cancer that arises in the head or neck region, including the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat, or larynx (voice box).
  • The sixth-most-common form of cancer in the United States.
  • 40,000 cases diagnosed annually.

Risk Factors for Oral Head and Neck Cancer

  • Tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use are the most important risk factors for head and neck cancers, particularly those of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box.
  • Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk for developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • Over the past decade, an increasing number of young, non-smokers have developed mouth and throat cancer associated with the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Today, 25 percent, or 10,000 cases each year, might be attributable to a strain of HPV. Physicians and researchers believe this might be due to an increase in oral sex as part of early sexual experience.
  • Thyroid cancers can develop in anyone, although there often is a family history or exposure to radiation involved. Salivary gland cancers also do not seem to be associated with any particular cause.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.