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For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2014

Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care to hold free head and neck cancer screenings on April 29

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 29, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 114 McArthur Boulevard in New Bedford. Reservations are required for the screening. To make an appointment, call the Southcoast Wellness Line at 800-497-1727.

"Advanced oral cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among all forms of cancer," said Wendy B.R. Stern, MD, Chief of Otolaryngology for Southcoast Health. "However, quick diagnosis and treatment are an incredibly effective way to increase survival rate. The screenings are a simple procedure for people in this community to protect themselves from this type of 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.

"These screenings are not just about determining whether someone may or may not presently have cancer," said Therese M. Mulvey, MD, medical oncologist and Physician-in-Chief for Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care. "They are also a very important way to educate the public about the dangers that can lead from smoking and chewing tobacco. As people learn more about the risks associated with tobacco use, we see their habits change for the better and subsequently a lot less cancer diagnoses."

According to the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance, cigarette smoking increases your risk of these cancers by 15 times compared to a non-smoker. 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 about 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.

The screening is sponsored in part by the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness week, which is scheduled for April 20 to 26. To learn more about head and neck cancer visit


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Peter Cohenno
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-973-5280
Cell: 774-218-5530

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

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