NEW YORK, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) today urged Americans to get screened for cancer by unveiling the Grand Prize winner and Runners-Up in the Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®) national video contest. The OHANCAW Challenge was developed to engage young adults in educating the public about the signs, symptoms and risk factors of oral, head and neck cancer, and promoting the importance of early detection and prevention. The winning videos were unveiled as a prelude to the 16th Annual OHANCAW, April 14-20, during which free screenings will be held at more than 340 sites throughout the world. More information can be found at www.headandneck.org.
The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 109,000 Americans were diagnosed with a form of oral, head and neck cancer in 2012, resulting in an estimated 13,000 deaths. Popular film critic Roger Ebert died last week after a 10-year struggle with thyroid cancer, a form of the disease. "Mr. Ebert was a champion of telling powerful stories on film," said Terry Day, MD, President of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. "With the OHANCAW Challenge, our goal was to deliver a powerful message on video: the importance of screening and early diagnosis."
Tim Armstrong, 23, of Los Angeles, CA, was awarded the Grand Prize for his original video highlighting the importance of early detection through screenings. Sneha Shilpa, 22, of Miami Beach, Florida, and Lewie Kloster, 18, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, were awarded second and third place winners, respectively. The OHANCAW Challenge was open to young adults 18 to 24, who were asked to submit a 30-second video raising oral cancer awareness between March 4 and 31. To view all winning video submissions, visit the OHANCAW Challenge website at www.OHANCAWchallenge.com.
"I have a strong desire for information on my health and the health of others," said Grand Prize winner Tim Armstrong of Los Angeles, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who majored in film and media. "Before this contest I was unaware of the facts surrounding oral head and neck cancer. Through creating a video, I became better educated on this disease and the importance of getting screened, and I wanted to spread the word in a way that would engage people of a similar age." Third place winner, Lewie Kloster, said his grandfather had oral cancer, but luckily it was caught early and he was treated and became cancer free. "I'm glad because he was a big part of my life. My grandpa quit smoking and was smoke free for the last 25 years of his life."
According to results of a new survey fielded online among over 2,100 U.S. adults by Harris Interactive on behalf of the HNCA in January 2013, 64% of Americans are not knowledgeable about oral, head and neck cancer, and over 7 in 10 (71%) say that they have not been examined by a medical professional for the disease. Only 13% of Americans know that human papillomavirus (HPV) – the same virus that causes cervical cancer – is now associated with throat cancer.
"Public awareness of oral head and neck cancer is more important than ever, now that we're seeing a higher prevalence of the disease among younger adults, largely associated with HPV," said Dr. Day. "Although this cancer is life-threatening, when diagnosed early, it is more easily treated without significant complications. The HNCA is proud to sponsor the video challenge, OHANCAW and the free screenings, all part of our ongoing commitment to help reduce disease incidence and increase patient survival through education."
More information regarding the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with oral, head and neck cancer can be found at www.headandneck.org.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus product on behalf of the HNCA from January 2-4, 2013 among 2,126 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Karen Dombek at MCS Healthcare Public Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org / 800-477-9626).
About Oral, Head and Neck Cancer (OHNC)
OHNC is a common form of cancer affecting any part of the oral cavity, pharynx, throat, thyroid and larynx (voice box). Approximately 109,000 Americans were diagnosed with a form of OHNC in 2012, resulting in an estimated 13,000 deaths. When you break down the number diagnosed by region, you have: Oral Cavity and Pharynx (40,250), Larynx (12,360) and Thyroid (56,460). Regular check-ups can detect the early stages of head and neck cancer or conditions that may lead to it. For those cancers caught at a later stage, treatment is available and may require various combinations of surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.
Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®), coordinated by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA), is a week dedicated to promoting education, prevention, screening and early detection of mouth and throat cancers. OHANCAW is highlighted by free screenings held at participating medical centers across the country.
The 16th annual Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week will be held April 14 – 20, 2013. Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided funding for free screenings as part of the company's support of OHANCAW. For more information, please visit the OHANCAW website at www.headandneck.org.
About the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance
The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA), started in 1984 as the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, is hoping to reduce incidence and increase survival through these efforts. Its mission is to advance prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation of oral, head and neck cancer through public awareness, research, advocacy and survivorship. Through united and collaborative efforts, HNCA provides support to head and neck cancer patients throughout the year, supports ongoing research in head and neck oncology and educates children and adults in the disease process, treatment and prevention of oral, head and neck cancer.
MCS Healthcare Public Relations, for the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA)
SOURCE Head and Neck Cancer Alliance