Throat Cancer: More Common Than You Might Think

U-M Cancer Center to offer free throat cancer screenings April 18

throat cancerMichael Douglas, Sigmund Freud, Ulysses S. Grant, George Harrison, and Babe Ruth – what could these people possibly have in common? Throat Cancer.

Even though it’s not talked about as much as some other types of cancer, throat cancer isn’t rare – in fact it’s the sixth most common cancer in the United States.

Throat cancer can start in the soft tissues of the upper, middle or bottom portion of the throat and can include the voice box (larnyx).

Researchers have found that 85 percent of throat cancers occur after exposure to cancer causing chemicals like tobacco and alcohol and tend to develop in areas where these chemicals have the most contact. Those at risk for developing throat cancer are people that drink three or more alcoholic beverages/day, or smoke or chew tobacco (or have in the past). People that use both tobacco and alcohol are at an even greater risk for developing throat cancer than people who use alcohol or tobacco alone.

Symptoms like difficulty swallowing, a sore or painful area in the mouth or throat, a persistent ‘hoarse’ voice, or a lump in the throat or neck that doesn’t go away should be checked by a doctor.

The good news is that throat cancer may be prevented by changing habits; and can be treated if caught early. You can reduce your risk for developing throat cancer by receiving regular medical check- ups, eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and seeing the doctor when symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks.

Screening is also important in the detection of throat cancer.

Free Throat Cancer Screenings April 18

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the U-M Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, along with the U-M Cancer AnswerLine™, are offering free throat cancer screenings by appointment on Saturday, April 18. This event, which coincides with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, will also offer smoking cessation counseling and other resources and information about throat cancer.

Saturday, April 18
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
U-M Taubman Health Center
1st Floor, Reception A
1500 E. Medical Center Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The free cancer screening exams take about 45 minutes. To register, call 800-865-1125. Free parking or AATA bus transportation are provided and refreshments will be served.

Take the next step:
• Register by calling 800-865-1125.
• Find out more from the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.
• Still have questions? Call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.

Continue reading about throat cancer and risk factors and treatment options:

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throat cancerThe Head and Neck Cancer Clinic at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center follows a team approach to care. A multidisciplinary team of physicians, oncologic surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, speech pathologists, physical therapists, prosthodontists, pathologists, radiologists, immunologists, clinical investigators, basic science researchers, and biostatisticians, all work together to help our patients combat their cancer.


Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.