Head and Neck Cancer: Yul Brenner Screening Day

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Guest: Dr. Marion Boyd Gillespie - Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry

Dr. Linda Austin: I am Dr. Linda Austin. I am interviewing Dr. Boyd Gillespie who is Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, which is Ear, Nose and Throat, here at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Gillespie, we have the Yul Brynner Screening Day for head and neck cancers coming up.

Dr. Boyd Gillespie: That is right. The day is named after Yul Brynner who, a lot of people do not know, suffered from a cancer of the throat. He eventually died of lung cancer. Before he had the lung cancer, however, he had a cancer of his vocal cord which, at the time, was kept fairly hushed because he was known for his singing and acting voice as the king in The King and I. When he found out that he suffered from this, they kept it somewhat quiet at the time. But, he eventually wanted some of his resources to be used to raise awareness about this. Being a smoker, he always knew that he was at risk for lung cancer but he did not realize that he was also potentially at risk for losing his voice.

Dr. Linda Austin: So, tell us about the screening day. What will happen?

Dr. Boyd Gillespie: The screening day is a wonderful opportunity for people to come to various sites throughout the greater Charleston area to have a free screening for head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer involves a variety of cancers, predominantly ones of the upper throat and neck region. These include the areas inside the mouth: the mouth, tongue, tonsils, back of the throat, and vocal cords. They also involve the salivary glands, which occur on the sides of the cheeks and underneath the jaw, and the thyroid gland.

As part of this screening, which is open to the public, anyone who would like to come out can come out and learn more about head and neck cancer. Also, anyone who may be having any signs or symptoms that are worrisome to them, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet with a physician with expertise in this area and to have an examination. Certain signs or symptoms that may be worrisome include a non-healing sore in the throat, an area of redness or white patch in the throat, areas of the mouth or throat that bleed easily and have persisted for some time, a loose-fitting denture that has changed over time, any difficulty swallowing or hoarseness of the voice that has persisted more than a few weeks, or any swelling or enlargement in the face or neck area.

Dr. Linda Austin: The year is 2008. What day is the screening?

Dr. Boyd Gillespie: The screening will be held on Friday, April 25th. Our sites will include the Rutledge Tower at MUSC, Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, MUSC Department of Otolaryngology office, next to East Cooper Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant, and the new MUSC North Area office off of US 78.

Dr. Linda Austin: For those folks who may be listening to this but do not live near by, if they wanted to find a local site, where could they go to look?

Dr. Boyd Gillespie: There are going to be screenings at over 300 sites nationwide. The best way to find a screening site near you is to go on the web by googling the Yul Brynner Foundation, head and neck cancer screening, or Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Day. These different listings will give you access to the sites available in your area. So, again, it is Friday, April 25th, and it will include over 300 sites nationwide.

Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Gillespie, thank you so much.

Dr. Boyd Gillespie: Thank you.

If you have any questions about the services or programs offered at the Medical University of South Carolina or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please call MUSC Health Connection: (843)

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