MONDAY, April 17, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A baseball legend and head and neck cancer survivor is alerting Americans to a free nationwide screening day for oral, head and neck cancers across the United States, slated for April 21.
Doctors will screen patients for no charge in honor of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 17-23). The Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation (YBF) is teaming up with baseball great and cancer survivor Brett Butler, as well as MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, to urge Americans to get screened for these kinds of malignancies.
"I'm living proof that early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances of surviving oral, head and neck cancer," Butler said in a prepared statement.
He was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the tonsil in 1996 and was treated with both surgery and radiation. He said early diagnosis and prompt treatment saved his life.
"That's why I'm encouraging everyone who is at risk for this potentially deadly disease, especially tobacco and alcohol users, to take advantage of the free screenings throughout the country on April 21. You owe it to your family and loved ones to get yourself checked," said Butler, a father of four who played major league baseball for 17 seasons.
"When diagnosed very early, oral and other head and neck cancers are easy to treat and cure," Dr. Terry Day, YBF president, said in a prepared statement. "However, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which makes screening very important, especially for those who engage in risky behavior such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption."
The YBF is sponsoring a Web page on MLB.com that includes a videotaped message from Butler, information about oral, head and neck cancer, and a directory of sites that will offer free screenings on April 21.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about head and neck cancer and oral cancer.