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Patient Elizabeth Duncan receives a free head and neck cancer screening from Amy Whigham, M.D., during last year's screening event. (Photo by Mary Donaldson)

Free head and neck cancer screening set

BY: DAGNY STUART

4/28/2011 - Vanderbilt will hold its annual free head and neck cancer screening and education event Friday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and Meharry Medical College are partnering with the national Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to provide the screening.

The head and neck cancer screening exams take only a few minutes and are painless. During the exam, physicians inspect the mouth and throat and palpate the neck to search for abnormalities in the thyroid, lymph nodes or salivary glands.

In addition to the exams, medical personnel will be on hand during the educational event to discuss topics related to head and neck cancer prevention, therapy, research and rehabilitation.

The screening sessions will be held in three locations:

• Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Odess Head & Neck Surgery Clinic, 7209 Medical Center East — South Tower;

• VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Surgical Clinic No. 1 — ENT Clinic, first floor, 1310 24th Ave. South;

• Meharry Medical College Dental School lobby, corner of D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd. and Meharry Blvd.

No appointments are necessary. For more information, contact Michelle Pham at 936-4896 at Vanderbilt, or Dana Marshall at 327-6549 at Meharry.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 80,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer every year. These cancers may occur in the nasal cavity, sinuses, throat, lips, mouth, thyroid, salivary glands or larynx (voice box).

“Symptoms of head and neck cancer can be subtle and many patients don't realize they are at risk for this serious form of cancer,” said Wendell (Dell) Yarbrough, M.D., associate professor of Otolaryngology and Cancer Biology.

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