2 Important ENT Events in April

April is an important month for awareness related to ENT disorders. While you may not currently have disorders related to your voice or cancer, you may know someone that does. Participating in awareness events can also help educate you as to preventive measures that you can take to prevent complications in the future.

1
Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week

Throat disorder
Throat disorder. Anthony Bradshaw/Getty Images

Sponsored by: Head and Neck Cancer Alliance

Other supporters: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

When: Second Full Week in April

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance continuously provides free cancer screenings throughout the year worldwide. They promote education that early diagnosis helps to improve successful treatment of cancer. During Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance increases tries to increase the awareness of their free screenings through a focused promotion each year. Activities that are made available through this week each year includes:

  • free cancer screenings
  • awareness walks and runs
  • sporting tournaments
  • workshops
  • educational speeches

There are many types of cancers of the mouth, head and neck for which you may need to be evaluated. Approximately 3 out of 100 cases of cancer are located in the head and neck, but only about 29 percent of people have been evaluated for head and neck cancers that include:

The majority of cancer of the head an neck is related to use of alcohol and tobacco (smoking or chewing). 75 out of 100 cases would be preventable if alcohol and tobacco were not used. Please abstain from any form of alcohol or tobacco to minimize your risks for cancer.

Another common cause of cancer of the head and neck includes HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV commonly causes cancers of the mouth or pharynx (throat). Most commonly the tongue and the tonsils are the sites associated with the development of cancer from HPV.

Common symptoms associated with cancer of the head and neck includes:

2
World Voice Day

World Voice Day
World Voice Day. world-voice-day.org

Sponsored by: Many International Companies

Other supporters: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery in the United States

When: April 16th every year

World Voice Day is internationally recognized and works to increase awareness of:

  • voice assessments
  • improvement and maintenance of healthy voice habits

Your voice is most likely your most common form of communication. It is also commonly used to perform many jobs. Ensuring that your voice stays healthy can help impact your social interactions as well as your ability to perform many of your daily duties.

A change in your voice is most commonly experienced after an upper respiratory infection. This will typically impact your voice for about 2 weeks due to swelling around your vocal cords. However if your voice does not return to normal within 4 weeks, you should have an evaluation by an ENT. You should particularly be evaluated if you are a smoker and have a change in your voice lasting around a month due to your increased risk for a cancer of the head and neck.

Here are some general tips to keeping your voice healthy:

  • Stay hydrated - drink plenty of water, which is generally around 6-8 glasses each day.
  • Do not smoke - if you do smoke quit today.
  • Avoid misusing your voice by yelling, screaming, or straining your vocal pitch to extremes.
  • Clearing your throat can be damaging to your vocal cords. It is the equivalent to slamming a door shut, but on your vocal cords. 

Sources:

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2016). About Your Voice. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1435

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2016). Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.entnet.org/OHANCAW

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2016). Tips for a Healthy Voice. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1441

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. (2016). World Voice Day. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.entnet.org/WorldVoiceDay

Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. (2016). Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness (OHANCA) Program. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.headandneck.org/get-involved/ohancaw

National Cancer Institute. (2013). Head and Neck Cancers. Accessed on 3/31/2016 from http://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/head-neck-fact-sheet

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