HNCA News Bulletin

May 2018

Raising Awareness and Promoting Early Detection with OHANCAW® Programming

Dear Friends,

Thank you to our 2018 Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®) screening sites and their volunteers! This screening/awareness program allows us to educate communities worldwide about Oral, Head and Neck Cancer symptoms and save lives by identifying people who need follow-up care. Highlights of 2018 OHANCAW® are featured below.

Oral, head and neck cancer patients are diagnosed every day, and these screening/awareness events help save lives!  If your facility was too busy in early April, consider hosting an event in May, June, or perhaps in the Fall.  Some sites host two events per year--one in the spring and one in the fall--to reach as many people as possible.

In recognition of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness month, we had the honor of collaborating with tongue cancer survivor and Los Angeles Lakers legend Michael Cooper on a podcast discussing his cancer journey, the NBA, and his future plans. Listen to the podcast here!

This past week, HNCA received over 40 calls from patients and caregivers regarding treatment questions, financial support, referrals, and, unfortunately, some about hosting memorial tributes. Each call demonstrated why our organization exists and the increased need for early diagnosis, new treatments and more research.

Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® 2018

    The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance continues to grow and expand our annual Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®). While the program began 20 years ago as an awareness week, HNCA has expanded OHANCA to a year-round program in which facilities can host a screening or awareness event on any day of the year. As always, we will provide the necessary materials free of charge. So far in 2018, we have had more than 400 events, with more to come! 

  • We would like to thank and congratulate the University of Mississippi Medical Center who achieved record attendance at their 2018 screening event. Typically they screen around 10 people, but this year, thanks to some different marketing tactics, they screened an incredible 80 people, 14 of whom were instructed to follow-up with their primary care physician. This event also achieved local news coverage, going even farther in sharing the important message of early detection. Great job, UMC!
  • We would also like to give special mention to Yale New Haven Health. Their screening event, and its focus on HPV vaccination, was featured on the front page of the Greenwich Times! The article can be viewed here. 

What's New with HNCA:

Recipe Contest Winners Offer Flavor for Your Table 

Thank you to everyone who sent in submissions for our recipe contest! We are grateful for the many tasty submissions we received that will ultimately provide nutritious, easy-to-consume meals for our patients and survivors.

We are pleased to partner with Vitamix® to award the following winners with one of the most reliable, multipurpose blenders available:   

HNCA is seeking nutritious and tasty home-created smoothie recipes for head and neck cancer patients and survivors.  By submitting your very own recipe, you may have the opportunity to win a Vitamix® Blender and have your homemade recipe featured in the soon-to-be-released HNCA Cookbook.

To submit your favorite recipe for head and neck cancer patients and survivors, please send it to us at or submit your recipe through our online form.  When submitting, please be sure to include the following:

  • 1. Name of recipe
  • 2. Your name, city and state of residence
  • 3. Photo of your completed dish/beverage 
  • 4. A statement granting permission of usage for the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to use the recipe as necessary
  • 5. Optional: Why you believe your recipe benefits head and neck cancer patients and survivors?

Recipes will be evaluated and tasted.  3 selected recipe creators will receive a free Vitamix® Blender, and their recipes will be included in the soon-to-be released HNCA cookbook, Healing and Easy Eats. 

Only participants in the U.S. are eligible to win a Vitamix® Blender.

New Name, Same Great Purpose

  • At HNCA, we believe people draw more strength and knowledge from hearing directly from patients and caregivers.  That's why we created our Speaker's Bureau.  As it has evolved, it became clear that our speakers are doing more than simply talking--they're bridging knowledge gaps and making important community connections.  With this in mind, we have recently given this program a new, more fitting name:  The Ambassador Program. 

HNCA Board in Action:

Our esteemed board members have been busy raising awareness and sharing resources about head and neck cancer. 


HNCA, in collaboration with PeerView, hosted an educational symposium, Solving the MultiModal Puzzle of Head and Neck Cancer in the Immunotherapy Era, chaired by Dr. Ezra CohenWatch here! 

Jason Mendelsohn spoke with NBC affiliate News Channel 8 in Tampa, FL about HPV-related head and neck cancer. Watch the segment here!


Dr. ​ Terry Day discussed the prevention and early detection of head and neck cancer with South Carolina Public Radio. Listen here!

At the HPV Vaccination Roundtable National Meeting on March 5:

  • Dr. Cherie-Ann Nathan was nominated and confirmed to the organization’s Steering Committee
  • Dr. Michael Moore and Dr. Terry Day received recognition awards for their volunteer work promoting the HPV vaccine.
  • Jason Mendelsohn spoke at the conference about his cancer journey and the importance of the HPV vaccine. Learn more!

Survivor Stories:

Four Cancer Patients and Survivors Share Their Journeys

Recently, four Head and Neck Cancer patients sat down with Dan Lothian, former CNN White House correspondent, to discuss their cancer journeys.

  • Jim turned to immunotherapy to beat cancer and get back to the life he loves.
  • To beat cancer, Julia relied on proven treatments, a healthy dose of positivity, and taking the time to appreciate the small things in life.
  • Ryan shares his journey as a young, oral cancer patient; as a survivor, he appreciates the good times and a new perspective on life.
  • Thanks to immunotherapy, Valerie was able to roll with the punches and beat cancer.

Their bravery and determination is amazing and provides encouragement to everyone who is struggling with cancer. Watch their inspirational stories below!

Get Involved and Support Our Efforts

YOU have the power to help fund research, raise awareness and advocate for access to care.  Interested in contributing your time or supporting HNCA? We offer a variety of ways to get involved:

  • Organize a fundraising event in your community;
  • Donate. Your unrestricted gift is key to supporting our mission and our most critical programs;
  • Become a Corporate Partner of events and/or patient-focused or clinician education programs;
  • Partner with our organization and host a screening in your community (only available to clinicians).

For more information on the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, click here.

Thank You to our Corporate and Community Partners

Be sure to add our email address to your address book or safe senders list so our emails get to your inbox.