Over 100 European-Wide Free ‘Early Diagnosis Days’ Taking Place During 2014 Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week

  • Second Annual Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week kicks off with a host of activities to raise awareness of signs and symptoms of the disease

  • ‘Early Diagnosis Days’ held across Europe to identify possible cases of head and neck cancer

  • Improved awareness, earlier diagnosis and multidisciplinary care are key to improving patient outcomes in a disease, which kills over 62,000 people in Europe each year
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Brussels, Belgium, 22 September 2014/PR Newswire/ – The European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) today announces European-wide ‘Early Diagnosis Days’ taking place on Wednesday 24 September as part of this year’s Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (22–26 September). This follows the success of the 2013 campaign, where nearly 100 ‘Early Diagnosis Days’ took place. More than 5,000 patients were seen by a healthcare provider in 1 day, resulting in a referral rate of approximately 5% and multiple diagnoses of the disease.

There were more than 150,000 new head and neck cancer patients diagnosed in Europe in 2012, of which 60% presented with locally advanced disease. Of these, almost two-thirds will die within 5 years as a result of their disease. Early diagnosis remains crucial, as patients diagnosed in the early stages of the disease have an 80–90% survival rate.

“Educating the general public and healthcare professionals on the risk factors and symptoms of head and neck cancer is vital if we are to ensure earlier diagnosis and ultimately reduce the number of people who lose their lives to this disease,” said Professor René Leemans, President of the EHNS and Professor and Chief of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at VU University Medical Centre. “We are looking to build on the success of last year’s campaign, which directly resulted in the diagnosis of several cases of head and neck cancer.”

The ‘Early Diagnosis Days’ are just one of a host of activities taking place during this year’s awareness week - part of the wider Make Sense Campaign run by the EHNS, with the aims of raising to awareness of head and neck cancer and ultimately improving outcomes for patients with the disease. A plenary debate will take place in the European Parliament on Tuesday 23 September, as a call to action for the implementation of a strategy to ensure earlier diagnosis and standardised, multidisciplinary care for head and neck cancer patients across Europe.

Additionally, ‘Local Education Days’ will take place in schools and universities across Europe, communicating information about the disease and its symptoms to students and young adults, as part of a dedicated Young Adults Day on Thursday 25 September. The awareness week will conclude on Friday 26 September with a healthcare professional information day at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference in Madrid, where head and neck cancer experts will be available for media interview, and educational campaign materials will be widely available.

“As well as raising awareness of the symptoms, it is vital that we educate the public on the critical risk factors for the disease, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and a link to specific strains of the human papilloma virus,” said Mr Sat Parmar, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. “As well as improving patient outcomes by identifying and treating the disease earlier, we must strive to reduce the number of people who develop head and neck cancer by encouraging a healthier lifestyle.”

A panel of head and neck cancer experts defined that if ONE of the following symptoms is present for THREE weeks people should visit their doctor, as it may be an early warning sign of head and neck cancer:

  • Sore tongue, non-healing mouth ulcers and/or red or white patches in the mouth
  • Pain in the throat
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Pain and/or difficulty swallowing
  • Lump in the neck
  • Blocked nose on one side or bloody discharge from the nose

How to get involved:

If you would like to get involved and help raise awareness of head and neck cancer, you can:

  • Attend and promote the ‘Early Diagnosis Day’ and ‘Local Education Day’ events (see separate media alert for event details)
  • Get people talking – Download our flyers and posters to promote the campaign and get people talking about the One-for-Three signs and symptoms http://makesensecampaign.eu/downloads
  • Share our video – Watch and share our educational video about head and neck cancer http://makesensecampaign.eu/video-content
  • Sign the Make Sense Campaign petition – Show your support, alongside European Parliamentarians for the Make Sense Campaign http://makesensecampaign.eu/petition
  • Join the conversation on Twitter – Use our hashtag #makesense and then visit our website www.makesensecampaign.eu
  • Attend the EHNS stand at ECCO-ESMO 2014, in Madrid to find out more about head and neck cancer from members of the EHNS

For more information, visit www.makesensecampaign.eu.

Notes to Editors

Media contacts

Sophie Ryan
+44 (0)20 3595 2406

Related Links

Make Sense Campaign

Related Documents

One-for-Three Signs and Symptoms Leaflet
Post-treatment Leaflet
Make Sense Campaign Info-graphics

EU Parliament Event Press Release

Healthcare Professionals Press Release

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