Altoona (WQOW) - Last year in America 100,000 people were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck, 14,000 of which died.
DeFatta ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery in Altoona is holding free oral, head and neck cancer screenings Thursday, April 12.
Dr. Robert DeFatta said that head and neck cancers are the sixth most common worldwide, and recently there's been a shift in the population of who's being diagnosed. What once primarily affected older patients, usually those who used tobacco and alcohol, is now affecting the young as well. It's all because of HPV, which is on the rise.
"In America, at this point in time, 25 percent of Americans are infected with the human papillomavirus. That doesn't sound like much, but that's over 79-million people," said DeFatta. "I's expected that 85 percent will become infected during their lifetime."
HPV is a cancer causing infection that can be transmitted by oral sex.
According to the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, it's hard to diagnose because the symptoms are often overlooked. They include a sore in your mouth that doesn't heal, soreness in your throat, a change in your voice, even difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving your tongue.
DeFatta is hosting free screenings Thursday, April 12, they run around 5 to 10 minutes. Contact DeFatta to schedule your appointment.