Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® Expands Globally

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance continues to grow and expand its annual Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®). The number of international sites participating has nearly doubled since 2016, and a record number of screening sites, both nationally as well as internationally, steadfastly promoted their respective screenings through social media channels, utilizing HNCA’s OHANCAW® Publicity Guide. The impact resulted in far-reaching education on oral, head and neck cancers throughout the U.S. and globally.

In all, more than 350 U.S. medical and dental clinics hosted OHANCAW® screenings. The majority of U.S. states were represented, and the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York hosted the most screenings with 18.

The countries of Ghana, Moldova, and Pakistan joined 17 other international sites in organizing screenings. India hosted the most screenings, outside the U.S., with 15 sites offering free exams in their local communities.

“OHANCAW® is our cornerstone program, and its strength comes from the thousands of dedicated volunteers who are committed to serving their local communities and keeping them healthy,” said Dr. Terry Day, HNCA President. “Each year, OHANCAW® provides such a vital and important life-saving initiative, and our thanks goes to the staff and medical teams who are enthusiastically committed to reaching individuals who are in the early stages of the disease.”


NFL Hall of Famer Kelly teams up with HNCA to urge others to get screened

NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly continued his support of educating others about the vital importance of early detection. As an oral cancer survivor, Kelly teamed up with HNCA in urging others to get free screenings during OHANCAW® as well as April’s Oral Cancer Month. Kelly is the spokesperson for Your Cancer Game Plan (YCGP), and you can read more about the campaign in the Building Your Head and Neck Cancer Team article of this newsletter.

Penn State Honors OHANCAW®, Its Patience, and Survivor

In observance of OHANCAW®, The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center illuminated its Crescent Building in white and burgundy to bring broad general awareness and show support to its head and neck patients and survivors.


Mt. Sinai experiences record turnout

During OHANCAW®, the Mount Sinai Health System hosted multiple days of free screenings. Each year, the OHANCAW® screenings take place at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and The Mount Sinai Hospital to raise further awareness of oral, head and neck cancers.

Located in New York City, the Mount Sinai staff screened a record 323 participants and referred 16% for follow-up care.

HNCA focuses messages on HPV-related oral cancer

Through media relations, social media and public education efforts as well as webinar participation, HNCA raised awareness for Human Papillomavirus, HPV, as a major risk factor for oral cancers. HNCA offered social media messages and creative for The National HPV Vaccination Roundtable and all of its member organizations to post and tweet during April’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

HNCA Board Chair Dr. Terry Day was a featured expert in a CancerCare.org webinar workshop, Progress in the Treatment of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer. This workshop was offered in conjunction with OHANCAW®.

On Friday of OHANCAW®, Dr. Day, presented a session on the understanding the science, evidence and trends of mouth and throat cancer, caused by HPV during an hour-long National HPV Vaccination Roundtable webinar. Dr. Day emphasized the importance of the HPV vaccination to reduce cancer incidence. HNCA’s Boykin, also a member of the Roundtable and a featured webinar guest, showcased HNCA’s work.


Unwavering Dedication from the Sindh Institute

The Sindh Institute of Oral Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan dedicated almost the entire OHANCAW® to raising awareness for oral, head and neck cancers, educating on the importance of early detection and offering six straight days of free screenings.

The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery staff dedicated 4.5 hours of their time each morning with the goal of screening as many individuals as possible, especially those at high-risk.

National Center for Health Statistics Releases New HPV Data

During OHANCAW®, The National Center for Health Statistics released its latest data on HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. National and international media outlets also reported on the latest findings, working to further draw attention to HPV-related oral cancers.

Some experts believe 70 percent of all head and neck cancers are caused by HPV, likely spread by oral sex. According to experts, by 2020, head and neck cancer will overtake cervical cancer as the most common HPV-related cancer.