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KNOW THE SIGNS: Head & neck cancers are rising in frequency

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 11:51 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - April is head and neck cancer awareness month.

Otolaryngologist Dr. John Gleysteen with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare joined Action News 5′s Andrew Douglas at the digital desk to talk about the warning signs and what people should watch for.

“Signs that could be worrisome are if there’s a new sore that developed inside the mouth that doesn’t go away quickly,” Dr. Gleysteen said. “You know, sores can pop up inside the mouth that are totally normal, but they will usually go away within one or two weeks. Something that’s been there for longer is something that needs to get checked out. A sore throat that hasn’t gone away, a change in your voice that hasn’t gone away…in short periods these are all normal findings, but when they last for a while that’s something to be concerned about. And then, as I was saying earlier a neck mass. If something pops up and there’s a lump on your neck that wasn’t there before, that’s a concerning finding.”

Dr. Gleysteen said head and neck cancers are rising in frequency, particularly throat cancers caused by the HPV virus.

“The good news about it is that it is actually more treatable than some of the other cancers that are associated with a long history of smoking and drinking like many other head and neck cancers are,” Dr. Gleysteen said.

Click here for more information and what you can do to prevent head and neck cancers.

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

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