April is head and neck cancer awareness month!
Be aware of the causes and symptoms, summarized in the graphic at the bottom. For me, it was a swollen lymph node below my jaw that didn’t resolve after antibiotics. It was negative on a needle biopsy and was finally diagnosed when it started growing out of the roof of my mouth. Be persistent about both screenings and diagnosis for anything that doesn’t resolve after the normal treatments.
50 facts about head and neck cancer: http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1501 They spend a good number of these facts talking about smoking and alcohol as contributors but everyone reading this knows someone who had head and neck cancer who never smoked and was a very light drinker. HPV-related head and neck cancer takes as long as 40 years to occur after the original infection, and it often strikes in people usually considered “too young” for serious cancer. I was 47, and I’ve met folks with head and neck cancer in their late twenties.
Find a local center to get screened: http://www.headandneck.org/get-involved/ohancaw/national-map You can also ask your GP and your dentist.