For scheduling or information, 877-CENTEGRA

News: Free screenings provided April 12 for oral, head and neck cancer

Centegra Health System will offer free screenings for oral, head and neck cancer from 9 to noon Saturday, April 12 at the Centegra Sage Cancer Center, 4305 Medical Center Drive in McHenry. Space is limited and registration is required. Register by calling 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).

During the screenings, Mobeen Shirazi, M.D., otolaryngologist and independent physician on staff at Centegra Health System, will provide a thorough exam of the mouth, oral cavity, head and neck area to detect any precancerous lesions or problems. Although this screening does not take the place of an annual exam by a personal physician, it is a valuable tool for recognizing conditions that could become serious.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, head and neck cancers account for about 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States. This year, an estimated 55,070 people (40,220 men and 14,850 women) will develop head and neck cancers. It is estimated that 12,000 deaths (8,600 men and 3,400 women) will occur this year. The society also reports the following:

  • Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, chewing tobacco and using snuff are the single largest risk factors for head and neck cancer. Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancer is linked to tobacco use. Secondhand smoke may also increase a person’s risk of head and neck cancer. Recent research suggests that people who have used marijuana may be at higher risk for head and neck cancer.
  • Research also indicates that infection with Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for head and neck cancer. HPV is most commonly passed from person to person during sexual activity. There are different types of HPV and some are more strongly associated with certain cancers. HPV vaccines protect against certain strains of the virus.

Centegra Health System and the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation partner all year to raise awareness of the importance of early cancer detection. The Get Checked! program provides information on lifestyle changes and guidelines for routine screenings that can make a big difference in one’s life. The Gavers Cancer Resource Library is also featured at Centegra Sage Cancer Center in McHenry and offers touch-screen computers and a library inventory of books, journals and booklets. Information in the library is available in English and Spanish.

Centegra Hospital–McHenry is recognized as having one of a few cancer programs in the state to receive accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This distinction acknowledges the comprehensive, quality cancer services Centegra provides. Additionally, all the Centegra Sage Cancer Center nurses are oncology certified.