Hospital promotes oral cancer awareness

The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby recently gave free oral, head and neck cancer screenings to 51 individuals in recognition of the 18th annual Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.

This is the fourth year Griffin has offered these free screenings to the community. Participating physicians included Dr. Mark Aferzon, Dr. Joe Cardinale, Dr. Eaton Chen, Dr. Joyce Chung, Dr. Jay Dworkin, Dr. Ronald Hirokawa and Dr. Ken Yanagisawa.

As a result of the screenings, six individuals were referred for further evaluation, two individuals were referred to a dermatologist for skin lesions and one participant was referred to an endocrinologist for an enlarged thyroid.

Thousands diagnosed in 2015

Oral, head and neck cancer can arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice box). According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 121,790 new cases of head and neck cancers will be diagnosed in 2015, resulting in more than 14,000 deaths.

Oral cancer screenings are recommended for every adult, especially for tobacco and alcohol users who are traditionally at the greatest risk. However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus.

Symptoms associated with oral cancer, include:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn't heal or that increases in size.

  • Persistent pain in your mouth.

  • Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth.

  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing or moving your tongue.

  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat.

  • Changes in your voice.

  • A lump in your neck.

If you have any of these warning signs, contact your physician or call the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital at 203-732-1280 right away.

About the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital

Opened in October, 2008, Griffin Hospital's Center for Cancer Care provides care that's comprehensive, comforting and close to home, a press release said.

The center provides access to Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, and a range of affiliated physicians under the same roof in a Planetree-inspired healing environment. Support services include a Patient Care Navigator, dietary/nutritional consultations, genetic counseling, social work services, pastoral care, education and support groups, and a variety of non-traditional therapies offered through the Integrative Medicine Center. For more information, visit or call 203-732-1260.