Girl Planting seeds

John Theurer Cancer Center Partners with Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to Offer Free Screenings on May 1

April 9, 2012 09:03 AM


John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC, one of the nation’s 50 best cancer centers, is partnering with the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to bring the community free cancer screenings in observance of the 15thAnnual Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.  The screenings will be available on a first come, first served basis on Tuesday, May 1 from 8:00am-12:00pm.

“Unfortunately, 50 percent of people with head and neck cancers have advanced cases by the time they first see a doctor,” saidArie Rosen, M.D., Head and Neck surgeon at Hackensack UMC, andBrian Benson, M.D., Co- Chief, Head and Neck Oncology, John Theurer Cancer Center. “The good news is that a simple check-up can detect the early stages of many of these cancers, giving patients a much better chance for a successful outcome with preservation of function. Don’t let something treatable go untreated, take 10 minutes and get screened.”

Oral, head, and neck cancersare a serious problem in the United States, with more than 50,000 new cases per year. If caught early, many of these cancers are treatable, and frequently curable with preserved function. While some head and neck cancers can produce symptoms in early stages such as hoarseness in laryngeal cancer, others can be quite difficult for a patient to detect until they become more advanced.

“Head and neck cancers are particularly dangerous because symptoms are often mistaken for other ailments, unnoticed, or completely ignored,” said Kenneth J. Colameo, D.M.D. of Barbieri, Colameo & Berardo, Associates in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, P.C. whose team of oral surgeons will participate in the screenings. “Something as minor as a mouth sore that won’t heal or a persistent sore throat or ear pain, while probably nonthreatening, is certainly worth looking into.”

Although it is worthwhile for adults of all ages to get screened, there are some people who are at a much higher risk than others. Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for oral, head, and neck cancers, however oral cancers have been on the rise particularly in non smoking young adults due partly to the increase exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV), providing one  more reason to get screened regularly. These cancers are particularly difficult to detect because they usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, in patients that were traditionally thought to belong to a low risk group, and because the early symptoms can be vague and mimic a throat infection.

“When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase significantly,” said Terry Day, M.D., President of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.  “Many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which underscores the importance of everyone getting screened properly, not just those at high risk such as tobacco and alcohol users.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance to offer this important screening event for our communities in New Jersey,” said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E., Chief Innovations Officer and Professor and Vice President of Cancer Services, John Theurer Cancer Center.

You do not need to make an appointment to participate in the screening, and walk-ins will be seen on a first come, first served basis. The screenings will be held on the first floor of the John Theurer Cancer Center at 92 Second Street in Hackensack, NJ. This event is open to the community, but you must be 18 years or older to participate. For questions, please contact Kaitlyn Ruitenberg at kruitenberg@HackensackUMC.orgor 201-540-7309.

About the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Centeris among the nation’s top 50 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals for cancer – the only cancer center in New Jersey with this designation. It is New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, preventive care, as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer.


Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to the John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. The 14 specialized divisions feature a team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. The John Theurer Cancer Center provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, state of the art technology, access to clinical trials, compassionate care and medical expertise—all under one roof. For more information please visit

About the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) was established in 2008 to create a coalition in the fight against head and neck cancer. Formerly the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, HNCA expands on existing strengths to enhance the overall effort in prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation. Our mission includes public awareness, research, advocacy, and survivorship. HNCA seeks to enable an organized and strategic alliance of all stakeholders to dramatically shift the stage of discovery of head and neck cancers through united and collaborative efforts in prevention, early detection and research. 

Media Contact:

Amy Leahing

Senior Associate

Office: (646) 756-2694

Cell: 305-458-0599



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