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Head and Neck Cancers Caused by a Common STI are Preventable

April 10, 2024

Found in General

April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness month. To bring awareness to mouth, throat and nose cancers, we’re sharing five facts about risk factors, diagnosis and prevention.

  1. Head and neck cancers start in the mouth, nose or throat and include cancer of the larynx (voice box), pharynx (tube that connects the nose to the larynx and the back of mouth to esophagus), salivary glands and thyroid.
  2. While there is no screening test for head and neck cancers, a doctor can perform a simple examination of the mouth, nose and throat to look for abnormalities and feel for lumps in the neck. Pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth are often found by dentists during routine check-ups.
  3. Common head and neck cancer symptoms include a sore in the mouth that does not heal or respond to treatment, a lump or mass in the neck, pain in the mouth, jaw or ear, difficulty swallowing or speaking, unresolved tonsilitis, unexplained enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
  4. Tobacco and alcohol use increase your risk of developing head and neck cancers but cancers of the throat, back of tongue and tonsils can also be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection which 75% of Canadians will contract.
  5. In B.C., an HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infections is available for free via school clinics to all students in Grade 6. Youth in B.C. remain eligible for the free vaccine if they get the first dose before 19 and the second prior to turning 26.

Learn more about BC Cancer’s groundbreaking research to improve oral cancer outcomes, or make a donation today to show your support.

Source: BC Cancer