WATCH RECORDING: Head & Neck Cancers Community Forum
On April 15, the DCI Office of Health Equity (OHE) hosted a community forum "Conversations with Our Community: What you need to know about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral, head, and neck cancers."
Thyroid Cancer often presents as a lump or nodule in the thyroid. Thyroid nodules and/or cancer may or may not cause symptoms. For many patients, a finding of a cancerous thyroid nodule is found incidentally — when patients are being examined for something else.
"We've shown in some of our studies at Duke into racial disparities that African Americans, when presenting with thyroid cancer, will often present at a later stage, or with slightly larger tumors, which would suggest that maybe the overall incidence isn't different but that it's being picked up later," said Stang. "Beyond being female and being in your 30s to 60s, there's also a difference in geographic distribution ... (for example) The northeastern United States has been known for some time as a hotspot for thyroid cancer... This raises the question of (possible) environmental factors that we don't understand."
LEARN MORE about thyroid cancer, including hotspots for thyroid cancer in North Carolina, which part of the U.S. has the highest rates of thyroid cancer, treatment advances, and prognosis, in the video above and through Duke Health.
Oral/Head/Neck Cancers Associated with HPV
Most patients with oropharyngeal cancer present with a long-lasting sore throat, earaches, hoarseness, swollen lymph nodes, pain when swallowing, and unexplained weight loss. Many also present with an enlarged neck mass. Others have no symptoms.
Oropharyngeal cancers are back-of-the tonsil, back-of-the-throat cancers, which are mostly caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), though smoking and alcohol use can also cause oropharyngeal cancer.
There are many types of HPV and those that cause cancer are the high-risk type, including cancers of the cervix, vulva, penis and anus. HPV causes nearly all cervical cancers. It causes 40% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, 40% to 50% of penile cancers and 80% to 90% of anal cancers. It causes 90% of genital warts.
The most well-known type of HPV-associated cancer is cervical cancer (the type for which there's a screening test — the PAP smear).
However, the incidence of oropharangeal cancers is actually higher than cervical cancer, said Cannon.
HPV is transmitted to the mouth through oral sex — infecting the lining (mucosa) of the mouth and throat of the oropharynx.
"Most people who are exposed to HPV don't even know they have anything and the immune system will get rid of the infection," said Cannon. "It's very common in the U.S. Over 20 million Americans have some type of genital or oral HPV infection. About 10% of men and about 4% or women have HPV in their mouths. We don't know why some people are able to get rid of their HPV infection before it causes cancer and why others can't... The time from the first oral HPV infection to cancer takes many years."
LEARN MORE about HPV-associated cancers, including if and when to screen, latency, how to know if HPV has caused one's cancer, and HPV vaccine recommendations for teens and young adults (males and females aged 9 to 26), in the video above or through Duke Health webpages on Oral Cancers :: Laryngeal (voice box) and Pharyngeal (throat) Cancer :: Tracheal Cancer.
Learn More About the Duke Cancer Institute Office of Health Equity
ACCESS the DCI Office of Health Equity website
Vision: To excel as the leader in reducing cancer disparities through authentic community engagement and partnerships, the delivery of seamless cancer care, and the provision of outstanding and innovative research and resources to achieve optimal health in a changing and diverse environment.
Mission: To reduce cancer disparities and promote health equity within Duke Cancer Institute's catchment area through strategic initiatives that integrate the following core areas:
- Community Outreach & Engagement
- Community-Facing Patient Navigation Services
- Health Disparities Education
- Clinical Trials Education & Workplace Diversity
April is Head & Neck Cancers Awareness Month
Thyroid Cancer by the Numbers
*Latest American Cancer Society Estimates
- About 44,280 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in 2021
- About 2,200 people will die from thyroid cancer in 2021
- Women are 3 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men
Oral Cavity & Oropharyngeal Cancers by the Numbers
*Latest American Cancer Society Estimates (cancer of the tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, lips, minor salivary glands)
- About 54,010 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer will be diagnosed in 2021
- About 10,850 people will die from oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2021
- More than 20% of cases occur in patients younger than 55
- More than 2 times as common in men as in women
Make An Appointment
To make an appointment with a head & neck cancer specialist at DCI/Duke Health, please call 888.275.3853.
OHE Community Conversations Archive
- WATCH RECORDING: "Prevention & Screening in Breast and Cervical Cancer" (recorded with the Mexican Consulate in Spanish on 3.30.21)
- WATCH RECORDING: "Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives” (recorded on 3.22.21)
- WATCH RECORDING: "How Studying Genes Can Lead to More Personalized Cancer Care" (recorded on 2.24.21)
- WATCH RECORDING: “Cervical Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives" (recorded on 1.24.21)