The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) has selected voice actor Rob Paulsen as its official spokesperson for 2020. Paulsen will serve as the face and voice of HNCA’s Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness® Program (OHANCA®), which celebrates its 22nd year in 2020. The cornerstone of the annual initiative is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, scheduled for April 13-19, when dozens of free oral, head and neck cancer screenings and awareness programs take place around the world.
Paulsen is known for voicing some of the most iconic cartoon characters of all-time. His voice has been featured in series such as Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Paulsen will now use his famous voice to help raise awareness of oral, head and neck cancer, encourage those at risk to get screened for oral cancer, and promote the importance of early detection and prevention via HPV vaccination.
Diagnosed with HPV-attributed stage III squamous cell carcinoma in 2016, Paulsen faced terrifying uncertainty as a voice actor confronting throat cancer. “The doctors said, ‘We’re pretty sure we can cure you, but first, we almost have to kill you.’ The treatment is brutal,” explained Paulsen. “They could cure me, but they couldn’t guarantee that my voice would survive. They said I’d be able to speak, but they couldn’t guarantee I’d still be able to make a living as a voice actor. Their job, they said, was to save me, not my career.”
Paulsen battled through an aggressive treatment regimen and is now cancer free—and still doing the voice work he loves so much. As a throat cancer survivor, his role as HNCA’s spokesperson is deeply personal. “I’m so fortunate because I can not only continue to make a living, but I can make a difference, and I can’t wait to use that on the biggest scale that I can.”
“We’re so excited for the opportunity to work with Rob,” said Amanda Hollinger, HNCA Executive Director. “He’s passionate about making a difference, about saving lives and offering hope and positivity to those fighting oral, head and neck cancer. If anyone can give a voice to the cause of oral, head and neck cancer awareness, it’s Rob and all those lovable characters he brings to life.”
In addition to partnering with HNCA for its 2020 awareness campaign, Paulsen is also a proud first-time author. His memoir, Voice Lessons, was released on October 8, 2019 and chronicles his career, his cancer battle, and how his many famous voices have inspired him and those around him to find the joy in every day. Learn more or purchase his book here: https://amzn.to/2p3R1nM
About Oral, Head and Neck Cancers Oral, head and neck cancers affect the mouth, nose, throat, tonsils, tongue, thyroid or voice box. According to the World Health Organization, head and neck cancer is now the 6th leading cancer by incidence worldwide. With more than 550,000 people diagnosed each year, these cancers have significantly increased in the past 26 years. In the United States, 132 new cases of oral, head and neck cancer are diagnosed each day. Traditionally, mouth and throat cancers have been linked to smoking and alcohol use. However, the human papillomavirus (HPV) has emerged as a leading cause of head and neck cancers, particularly cancers of the tonsils and base of the tongue that occur in non-smokers and younger age groups. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, 70% of throat cancers may be associated with HPV.
Regular check-ups can detect the early stages of oral, head and neck cancers when it is most treatable. For those cancers caught at a later stage, treatment is available and may require various combinations of surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. More information regarding the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with oral, head and neck cancer can be found at www.headandneck.org.
About OHANCA® and Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®) The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance’s Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness® (OHANCA®) program is an annual, year-long campaign to educate the public about oral, head and neck cancers. HNCA works closely with local hospitals, clinics, and medical centers to provide free oral, head and neck cancer screenings for communities throughout the US and abroad. In 2019, there were 270 screenings hosted in 40 U.S. States and 18 countries. The goal of the initiative is to encourage adults who are at high risk for oral, head and neck cancer to take advantage of the free screenings. The key message of the campaign is that early diagnosis is key to successful treatment of these types of cancers. For more information, please visit www.headandneck.org.
About the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing prevention, detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of oral, head and neck cancer through public awareness, research, advocacy and survivorship. For more information on the organization, please visit www.headandneck.org and follow HNCA on Facebook and Twitter.