Today is

Southcoast Hospitals Group has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval.

Enter your e-mail to subscribe:

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2013

Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care and Northeast Ear Nose & Throat team up to provide free head and neck cancer screenings on April 23

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Southcoast™ Centers for Cancer Care oncologists and Northeast Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons have teamed up to offer free head and neck cancer screenings on the Southcoast Health Van on Tuesday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pier 3, MacArthur Drive on the working waterfront 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 are not aware of," said Wendy B.R. Stern, MD, ear, nose and throat surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital and a member of Northeast Ear Nose & Throat in North Dartmouth. "It is vital that people — especially those who smoke and chew tobacco — learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of this cancer.

A head and neck cancer screening is quick and painless. Doctors will inspect the lips, gums, cheeks and mouth using a light. They will also feel for lumps in the neck.

"This screening offers a great opportunity for education and the chance for early detection," said Therese M. Mulvey, MD, medical oncologist and Physician-in-Chief for Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care. "Tobacco — including smokeless tobacco — and alcohol use are risk factors for head and neck cancers."

According to the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance, 85 percent of these cancers are linked to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes is the major cause of most head and neck cancers, while chewing tobacco has been shown to cause mouth cancer. Head and neck cancers are more common in men and in people over the age of 40. It is estimated that some 50,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with head and neck cancers annually. Caucasians currently have the highest incidence rates of head and neck cancer, although death is still highest among African Americans.

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. Mulvey said.

The screening is sponsored in part by the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness week. To learn more about head and neck cancer visit

Find a Physician: 800-497-1727

Get this release in Word format

Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer

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. More information is available online at Connect to Southcoast through social media at

Send comments | Privacy Statement | Equal Opportunity Employer.