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For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2011

Free Head and Neck Cancer Screenings on April 25

The Southcoast Health Van, Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care Oncologists and Northeast Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons team up with the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance for Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The Southcoast Health Van, Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care oncologists, and Northeast Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons team up to offer free head and neck cancer screenings on the Southcoast Health Van on Wednesday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CVS/Pharmacy, 1145 Kempton St. in New Bedford. Reservations are required for the screening. To register, call the Southcoast Wellness Line at 1-800-497-1727.

"Oral cancer is a major health problem in this country and one that most people aren't aware of," said Wendy Stern, MD, a surgeon at St. Luke's and Tobey Hospitals and a member of Northeast Ear Nose & Throat in North Dartmouth.

"It is vital that people — especially those who smoke — learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of this cancer and our screening offers a great opportunity for both education and a chance for early detection."

Dr. Stern noted that tobacco — including smokeless tobacco — and alcohol use are risk factors for head and neck cancers.

According to National Cancer Institute and the Yul Brynner Head & Neck Cancer Foundation, 85 percent of these cancers are linked to tobacco use. The foundation was created 20 years ago after actor Yul Brynner launched a crusade to educate the young people of the world on the effects of tobacco and its relationship to mouth and throat cancer. Brynner died in 1985 after a public fight with lung cancer.

Head and neck cancers are more common in men and in people over age 50. It is estimated that some 45,000 men and women in this country developed head and neck cancers in 2004. Black males have the highest incidence of head and neck cancers, with a survival rate over five years at 33 percent versus 55 percent for whites.

Some of the symptoms that are common in head and neck cancer include a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing and a change or hoarseness in the voice.

"As physicians, we need to educate the public about head and neck cancer and encourage people to get regular checkups and to eliminate high-risk habits like smoking," Dr. Stern emphasized.

The screening is sponsored in part by the Yul Brynner Head & Neck Cancer Foundation Inc. in honor of Head & Neck Cancer Awareness week.

To learn more about head and neck cancer visit

About Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care

Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care located in Fall River and Fairhaven feature the latest technology in radiation therapy and medical oncology. Highlights of the state of the art facilities include the very latest technology in radiation therapy and medical oncology, advanced diagnostic imaging, fully electronic health records, and spacious semi-private infusion bays. Radiation Oncology services include intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), brachytherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

The Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care offer patients a seamless continuum of care throughout Southcoast Health System — a program that supports not only patients' medical needs, but also their emotional and social needs. The care delivered at the centers is complimented by an outstanding cancer team, which includes dedicated medical and radiation oncologists, oncology nurse practitioners and chemotherapy certified nurses, patient navigators, social workers and nutritionists.

Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care has formed an exclusive regional affiliation with MDAnderson Physicians NetworkĘ. MD Anderson Physicians Network is a subsidiary of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world's most respected leaders in cancer care and ranked No. 1 in the nation, by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Cancer Hospitals" survey. Combining the region's top cancer provider with the expertise of the nation's leader in cancer care, Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care offers new hope and state-of-the-art care for cancer patients in the South Coast region.

For more information on Southcoast's cancer services visit

Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-961-5280
Pager: 508-387-2532
Fax: 508-961-5876

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Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island.

It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery, advanced imaging services and is the only provider of maternity services in the region.

Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services.

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