This year’s Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Day was, on Monday, held in Accra with a call on the public to report early detection of the disease for prompt medical attention.
According to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr. Ken Baidoo, the early detection and treatment could save the lives of the patients.
“If anyone has one of these for three weeks, sore tongue, non healing mouth ulcer, red or white patches on the tongue, pain in the throat, persistent hoarsening of the voice box, lump in the neck blocked nose on one side, then the person must report to the nearest medical facility”, he said.
The programme which was on the theme: “Creating Awareness saving lives” was to increase awareness on the dangers of the disease as well as seeking public support to assist patients for early treatment of the disease”.
He said that assessing the condition through thorough clinical evaluation, would help prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
Dr. Baidoo advised patients to desist from alcohol, tobacco and other lifestyles that could worsen their plight, saying early detection, early diagnosis and screening would help prevent a bad situation from getting worse”.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Professor Grace Parkins, said trauma on sharp teeth caused by long hours of chewing gum could cause cancer of the cavity.
She called for more awareness on mouth ulcer or sore gums to the dentist for early treatment adding that “eating cereals vegetables and fruits can naturally head ulcers.”
Dr. Joel Yanney, a radiotherapist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, advised patients suffering from the ulcers to avoid mixing herbal and orthodox medicine during the treatment period since one might react on the other, thus making it difficult for a total cure.
He also appealed to people with oral cancers not to resort to only prayers for their cure but also to seek medical attention while praying at the same time.
The Head of ENT Medical School, Professor Emmanuel Kitcher, said the day was set aside by the World Health Organisation to create awareness of the dangers of oral cancer.
He, therefore, urged for more public education to enable people to understand that oral ulcers and cancer really existed.
By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu