By Heather Newman

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System will offer free head and neck cancer screenings on Friday, April 20, in cooperation with the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in two locations:

the Head and Neck Surgery Clinic at the Bill Wilkerson Center, 7209 Medical Center East, South Tower and Surgical Clinic #1 at the ENT Clinic on the First Floor of the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

Head and neck tumors include cancers of the tongue, gums, salivary glands, nasal cavity, and larynx or voice box. Each year, 50,000 Americans will develop these cancers, making this collectively one of the most common types of cancer.

Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use, with the greatest risk for those who drink alcohol and use tobacco. Many cases of the disease are also linked to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). However, many cancers occur in people with no known risk factors.

Early detection can make a difference in chance for cure. Vanderbilt-Ingram has provided free screenings over the past several years in an effort to help detect the head and neck cancer earlier.

The screenings are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and no appointments will be taken. Visitors to campus should part in the East Garage and take their parking ticket with them to be validated.

The event is offered in conjunction by the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Hearing & Speech Services.

The free screening is a part of the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation’s nationwide awareness week. The foundation is named for the Academy Award-winning actor, known for his role in “The King and I”, who died of lung cancer in 1985. Before his death at age 65, Brynner was an advocate for educating others about the dangers of smoking after a discovery of a pre-cancerous abnormality in his vocal box.

For more information about the screening, call (615) 322-5550.

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