April is Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Month! Although anyone can be at risk, there are some risk factors that could increase your likelihood of developing a head and neck cancer.  Risk factors include:

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff)
  • HPV (sexually transmitted infection with human papillomavirus)
  • Alcohol use (excessive consumption)

During this month, Orange Regional typically hosts screenings. However, to be in line with the Stay at Home Order for the State of New York and to be mindful of keeping our community healthy, our screenings have been canceled.

Even though the actual screenings are not happening, you can still be proactive and do your own self screening at home by following the steps outlined below.

How to Self-Screen for Oral, Head and Neck Cancer

Take note of any abnormalities, irregular or discolored areas. Compare one side to the other for symmetry. Make sure you’re doing your screening in a well light room with a mirror and bright lights.<

  • Check your neck for lumps
  • Use fingers to press on side and front of neck to assess for any lumps/bumps/swelling
  • Look in your mouth at your lips and cheeks
  • Examine inside of cheeks for red, white or dark patches, also use fingers to feel for any unusual lumps/bumps on inside of cheeks
  • Bite down with your teeth and lift your lips to look at your gums
  • Pull lower and upper lips out to look for sores and use fingers to run along inside of lips/gums for any bumps/swelling
  • Look at tongue (top, bottom, sides), back of the throat, the roof of the mouth, and under the tongue using a flashlight and mirror
  • Pay attention to skin in and around mouth/chin for any changes, especially with any sores/moles
  • Other signs and symptoms include swallowing problems or pain, hoarseness or change in voice and bleeding in the nose, mouth or throat

As you are doing your screening, if you discover abnormal, irregular or discolored areas or lumps that are different on one side compared to the other, contact your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care doctor, please call our Medical Group at 845-333-7575 to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.