Why Head and Neck Cancer Screenings Matter

Screenings are saving the lives of head and neck cancer patients through early diagnoses, while vaccinations and healthy lifestyle choices are helping others avoid the diseases altogether.

Head and neck cancers have a variety of causes, including smoking and HPV. Fortunately, patients can receive screenings during routine examinations and even at dental cleanings.

“It's very straightforward,” says Stephen Kang, MD, of the OSUCCC – James. “It's quick, it’s easy to do and most patients can benefit from periodic screenings from time to time.”

While screening can lead to life-saving treatment for people who are eventually diagnosed with head and neck cancer, prevention practices like the HPV vaccination can dramatically decrease the chances of the disease developing at all.

“HPV is a virus that has been shown to cause throat cancers, so we think of this vaccine as a vaccine against cancer,” Kang says. “This vaccine is recommended in all children starting at 11 and 12 years of age, and we believe [it] will prevent throat cancer in future decades.”