The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl announced today that he has been diagnosed with treatable neck and throat cancer. According to published media reports, Karl’s physician says the coach has cancer of his right tonsil that has spread to a lymph node in his neck. The 58-year-old Karl, who is also a prostate cancer survivor, coached in the NBA’s All-Star game this past weekend.
Annually, oral cancer kills about 8,000 Americans, claiming more lives than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer and malignant melanoma. Fortunately, oral cancers are often curable if identified and treated early. Of the 34,000 Americans newly diagnosed each year with oral cancer, only half will be alive in five years, but, early diagnosis and treatment could boost that rate to between 75 percent and 80 percent, according to the American Dental Association. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults, especially smokers, tobacco users or consumers of high amounts of alcohol, check their mouths, gums and tongues monthly for signs of cancer. Head, Neck and Oral Cancer week this year is Monday, April 12 through Sunday, April 18.
Christine G. Gourin, M.D., an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and director of the clinical research program in head and neck cancer or Jeremy D. Richmon, M.D., an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, can discuss these issues regarding neck and throat cancer:
➢ What are some of the symptoms of neck and throat cancer?
➢ What can cause neck and throat cancer?
➢ Which measures can you take to prevent neck and throat cancer?
➢ How is neck and throat cancer diagnosed?
➢ What types of treatments are used in the battle against neck and throat cancer?
➢ How often should patients ask their physicians or dentists to perform a head and neck exam?
American Dental Association and American Cancer Society