oral cancer awareness month

Aspen Dental Practices Donate More Than $20,000 To The Oral Cancer Foundation For Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Source: www.pharmiweb.com.org
Author: Aspen Dental
 

SYRACUSE, N.Y., May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Aspen Dental–branded practices will donate $22,375 to The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) as part of a program that contributed $5 for each ViziLite® oral cancer screening conducted during April for Oral Cancer Awareness Month. In total, more than 4,000 patients were screened across more than 550 practices in 33 states.

Since 2010, Aspen Dental-branded practices have donated more than $105,000 to OCF.

“Approximately 48,250 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with an oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year; and of those only about 57% will be alive in five years,” said Natalie Riggs, Director of Special Projects for The Oral Cancer Foundation. In 2016 we estimate that 9500 individuals will lose their lives to oral cancers and we are grateful for the support from Aspen Dental practices in helping us raise awareness and aiding in our efforts to fight this disease.”

Oral cancer is frequently preceded by visible pre-malignant lesions and can be diagnosed at a much earlier stage (I or II) with ViziLite® Plus, a specially designed light technology.  When caught early and treated, the survival rate is 80 to 90 percent.

“We’re working to educate our patients about the risk factors, warning signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer so that we can help them catch the disease before it progresses,” said Dr. Murali Lakireddy, a general dentist who owns Aspen Dental offices in Ohio. “Many of our patients do not think about oral cancer when they go to the dentist, but in fact, oral cancer screenings are just as much a part of your routine dental visit as a deep clean from the hygienist.”

To learn more about oral cancer screenings, visit the OFC website at http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/how_do_you_know.html.

About Aspen Dental Practices
Dentists and staff at Aspen Dental practices believe everyone has the right to quality, affordable oral health care. As one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S., local Aspen Dental practices – more than 550 of them across 33 states – offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouth they deserve. In 2015, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded more than 3.7 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 785,000 new patients.

The Oral Cancer Foundation Launches April Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Source: Yahoo News
Author: The Oral Cancer Foundation
 

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. 2015 marks the 16th year that The Oral Cancer Foundation has lead the effort to raise awareness of this disease and the need for an annual screening.

OCF has learned that although we accomplish a great deal as an organization, we can do so much more through the formation of strategic relationships with those who share our values and goals. OCF is grateful to the thousands of private dental offices that make time on multiple days during the month of April to offer free screenings to members of the public in their local communities across the nation. Besides the screening itself, these offices provide valuable information to the public related to risk factors and early signs and symptoms. An informed public can engage in self-discovery, which has generated early stage finds in so many other cancers.

In addition to the 1,000’s of private dental offices who will join with OCF this April, a coalition of professional organizations, private sectors companies, and educational institutions have chosen to partner with us. The professional organizations include; The American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM), The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA), The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), The American Dental Association (ADA), The American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP), and The Canadian Dental Hygiene Association (CDHA).  Our private sector corporate partners include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Henry Schein Dental, LED/VELscope, OralID and Identafi. The university partners this year are NYU, Penn Dental Medicine, and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

Jamie O’Day, OCF Director of Operations, expressed, “We are very proud that we have been able to assemble a powerful coalition of organizations, all with a vested interest in the oral cancer cause. OCF is thrilled to be in the company of such prestigious organizations and institutions. Coupled with thousands of private dental practitioners, this creates a formidable force to alter the late discovery paradigm that has plagued this disease for too many years.”

OCF Co-Founder Ingrid Hill, states that “There are steps as a nation that WE MUST take if we are to bring this disease down from its high ranking as a killer.

  • Since the HPV16 virus has become the fastest growing cause of oropharyngeal (back of the mouth) cancers, we must engage in a more robust effort to vaccinate our youth against this virus and allow our children and grandchildren to live in a country that has reached herd immunity against HPV related cancers, all of which are killers.
  • Create a national effort, ideally lead by dental professionals who see more than 60% of Americans at least once a year, to screen everyone opportunistically that currently visit their practices, as the vaccine only works in pre-sexual youth. Catching cancers in the current adult generation of Americans at early stages decreases treatment related morbidity, and improves long-term outcomes.
  • Create enough public awareness and knowledge that some SELF DISCOVERY of early signs and symptoms can occur, and self-referral for evaluation to medical or dental professionals takes place. Combined with professional screening, this will also yield more early stage discovery of both pre-cancers and early stage disease.”

Primary risk factors for developing an oral or oropharyngeal cancer

  • Tobacco use in all its forms
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A persistent HPV16 (human papilloma virus #16) oral infection

Oral cancer signs and symptoms identifiable in a conventional visual and tactile screening

  • An ulcer or sore that does not heal within 2-3 weeks
  • A discoloration on the soft tissues of the mouth that persists. It may be white, red, or even blackish in color
  • A swelling or lump in the mouth that persists. This also applies to a tonsil that is swollen but painless
  • Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched. (friable)
  • A lump, or hard spot in the tissue. (induration)
  • Tissue raised above that surrounding it, a growth. (exophytic)
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
  • A numb feeling in the mouth or lips
  • Persistent sore throat, hoarse voice, or cough
  • A painless fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks
  • Difficult or painful swallowing, or a painless sensation that when swallowing things are becoming stuck in your throat
  • An ear ache on one side (unilateral) which persists for a protracted period of time

OCF releases its 2015 projections for oral and oropharyngeal cancers derived from the government SEER database.

45,750 Americans will be newly diagnosed with an oral or oropharyngeal cancer, and there will be approximately 8,650 associated deaths. That is a one-year jump of about 5%. Brian Hill, Executive Director and Co-Founder of OCF stated, “Big numbers are hard to digest, even abstract to individuals, and people are not sure how important this data is. In simpler terms, it means 125 Americans will be newly diagnosed every day, and one American will die from this disease every hour of the day 24/7/365.  Since the two drivers of these numbers are a preventable lifestyle choice, (tobacco use), and a virus (HPV16) for which we have a readily available vaccine, the use of which would protect our next generation, is disheartening. Worse, with the virus being the more aggressive driver of these statistics, this number is without doubt, going to increase every year during our generation, since there is no vaccine for adults already exposed. When compared to other first world countries, the U.S. is far behind in vaccination and reaching herd immunity in our young people. Speaking as someone who almost lost his life to this disease from an HPV etiology, and who talks with patients and families in crisis with routine, my personal opinion is that we as Americans are doing a poor job of controlling tobacco use, contrary to scientific evidence of its harm. Given the huge financial component to the tobacco paradigm in the U.S. and the lack of any political will to change it, I do not see this undergoing any significant change in the future. That we have no national vaccine policy to protect our youth/the next generation with something in our power to change, policies accomplished with huge success in other countries around the world, I find unconscionable.”

It’s not too late to join with the other thousands of dental offices to get involved in bringing down these numbers. Click the following link to learn more about oral cancer awareness month, and how to create your own Free Oral Cancer Screening Event if you are a professional. http://www.oralcancer.org/events/oral-cancer-awareness-month.php

Members of the public can view our online calendar of events to find a screening event near them at – http://www.oralcancer-screening.org/events/?d=2015-04-01&b=1.

Be aware. Get Screened. BE PART OF THE CHANGE.

About the Oral Cancer Foundation
The Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian R. Hill, is an IRS registered non-profit 501(c)(3) public service charity that provides information, patient support, sponsorship of research, and advocacy related to this disease. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, head and neck cancer, and throat cancer. OCF maintains a web site at http://www.oralcancer.org, which receives millions of hits per month. Supporting the foundation’s goals is a scientific advisory board composed of leading cancer authorities from varied medical and dental specialties, and from prominent educational, treatment, and research institutions in the United States.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

Young supports Oral Cancer Awareness with launch of new Burgundy Disposable Prophy Angle

Source: http://www.dentistryiq.com
Author: DentistryIQ Editors

Screening is the beginning of the end of oral cancer, and Young is joining the Oral Cancer Foundation in empowering hygienists to “Be Part of the Change.”

Hygienists are on the front lines of oral cancer detection, and their involvement in early screening is paramount in the fight against oral cancer. Young is helping to support hygienists and keep oral cancer awareness in the forefront by launching the new Classic Burgundy Petite Web disposable prophy angle just in time for Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April.

In addition to being the signature burgundy color of oral cancer awareness, the Classic Burgundy Petite Web disposable prophy angle packaging acts as a billboard to promote awareness through early detection.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer in the U.S. each year, and only 57% will survive past five years due to late diagnosis. When found at early stages of development, oral cancer victims have an 80 to 90% survival rate.

Thanks to engagement from the RDH community, we are on the cusp of a major change in this paradigm. With a commitment to screening for oral cancer warning signs during routine prophylaxis procedures, hygienists are helping to save lives through early detection.

“Just doing ‘opportunistic’ cancer screenings during routine dental hygiene procedures would yield tens of thousands of opportunities to catch oral cancer in its early stages. One of our goals is to initiate an effort within the dental community to aggressively screen all patients,” said Brian Hill, executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. “Screening for oral cancer during dental examinations will save lives. We are thrilled to partner with Young in launching the Classic Burgundy Petite Web disposable prophy angle to help raise awareness about the early detection of oral cancer.”

To learn more about the Oral Cancer Foundation, visit www.oralcancer.org. To learn more about the new Classic Burgundy Petite Web disposable prophy angle, visit www.youngdental.com.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
 
 
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Aspen Dental and The Oral Cancer Foundation join together and conducted over 2,400 oral cancer screenings in April

Source: sacbee.com
Author: Aspen Dental
 
 

SYRACUSE, N.Y., May 29, 2014 — Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., conducted 2,420 oral cancer screenings at Aspen Dental locations during the month of April, resulting in a $12,100 donation to The Oral Cancer Foundation. The program, which included a $5 donation for each screening conducted, was run throughout the Aspen Dental network, which includes more than 450 practices across 27 states.

Since 2010, Aspen Dental has donated more than $63,000 to The Oral Cancer Foundation.

“Each year, oral cancer kills more people in the U.S. than other more widely known forms of cancer, including skin, lymphatic, thyroid, and cervical cancers,” said Jamie O’Day, Director of Operations for The Oral Cancer Foundation. “The funds raised through Aspen Dental’s oral cancer screening campaign in April are imperative to help OCF continue to sponsor research, provide patient support, education, and early detection initiatives which are all related to our mission. We are proud to be associated with an organization that makes oral cancer screenings a priority in their practices.”

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 43,250 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. This is the eighth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year.

“Unfortunately many patients are not familiar with the risk factors or symptoms that serve as warning signs of oral cancer,” said Dr. Thomas Nguyen lead dentist at the Aspen Dental office in Tucson, AZ. “In April, we met with many patients who were previously unaware of traditional oral cancer screenings, but were eager to have them done and learn more about the risk factors associated with oral cancer. We hope that our efforts this month helped to educate about the importance of detecting the cancer early on, when it is most treatable.”

To learn more about what to expect during an oral cancer screening, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/how_do_you_know.html.

About Aspen Dental Aspen Dental is one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S. with more than 450 practices in communities across 27 states. As part of its mission to provide America with a healthy mouth, Aspen Dental is providing millions of Americans with access to quality, affordable dental care. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work.

In 2013, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded nearly 2.9 million patient visits and welcomed more than 600,000 new patients. The dentists and staff at Aspen Dental-branded practices have a deep commitment to patient satisfaction, and every Aspen Dental location is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Aspen Dental practices are supported by Aspen Dental Management, Inc., a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support to licensed, independent dentists.

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

The New Face of Oral Cancer

Source: nursing.advanceweb.com
By Jonathan Bassett
Posted on: April 22, 2013
 
 

For decades tobacco was the primary cause of oral cancer but a more insidious culprit has emerged. 

Jerry Wilck had no reason to suspect anything. Why would he? He only smoked for a couple of years and gave it up more than 40 years ago. He didn’t drink excessively, didn’t have a family history of cancer, and took good care of himself.

In fact, maybe the only reason the 59-year-old consulted an oral surgeon about the small sore on his tongue – the result of a habit of running this particular spot along his teeth – was that there happened to be such a specialist right there in his office.
Wilck was a general practice dentist in Langhorne, Pa., and particularly attuned to anomalies of the soft tissues of the mouth. His oral surgeon took no chances and ordered a biopsy.

Wilck was “floored” the night in March 2005 when the lab report arrived by fax from the oral pathology department at Temple University in Philadelphia – squamous cell carcinoma.

Wilck immediately consulted with John Ridge, MD, PhD, FACS, chief of head and neck surgery at Temple’s Fox Chase Cancer Center. After surgical removal of part of his tongue and lymph nodes from his neck, along with a round of physical and speech therapy, Wilck is now cancer free and has full use of his jaw, throat and voice.

“I was lucky,” confessed Wilck, who retired from practice in 2009 and now spends a large part of his time speaking to dental students, advocacy groups and the media about the dangers of oral cancers. “The surgery was successful and I didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy. A lot of people in other lines of work might have ignored the symptoms. My story could have ended very differently.”

 

Under the Radar

Wilck was one of the fortunate cases caught early and treated effectively.

Oral cancer, along with cancers of the head and neck, respond well to treatment when detected early in their development, explained Dong Moon Shin, MD, FACP, Frances Kelly Blomeyer Chair in Cancer Research and professor of hematology, medical oncology and otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

A leading researcher in the field of oral cancer, Shin has authored more than 220 peer-reviewed articles and is principal investigator of Emory’s National Cancer Institute-funded Head and Neck Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), an interdisciplinary research collaborative on the forefront of discovering treatments and preventive measures for these cancers, along with other NCI-funded research programs.

Shin’s current research directions center on prevention with natural compounds (including green tea and cancer-fighting agents found naturally in vegetables), along with anti-cancer drug delivery with nanotechnology – using nanometer-sized particles with novel properties engineered for the targeted delivery of anticancer drugs into cancer cells, while sparing healthy cells. Such “smartly” formulated nanoparticles carrying anti-cancer drugs can be specifically delivered to the cancer cells, thus minimizing side effects and maximizing the anti-cancer activity of the drugs, explained Shin. “Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize cancer care.”

Despite these encouraging research avenues, oral cancer is a specialty area deserving of more physicians and scientists such as Shin devoted to it, said Terry Day, MD, FACS, director of the division of head and neck oncologic surgery and the Head and Neck Tumor Center at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

 

What You Need to Know about Oral Cancer: 

Christine Brader an oral cancer activist who has survived three bouts with the disease.

Archive ImageA

While oral cancer kills almost three times as many people as cervical cancer – one person dies every hour of every day from the disease, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation – it often receives less attention than more recognizable forms such as cancer of the skin or lungs.

“During my medical school training I began to see that these patients often had nowhere to turn,” said Day of the dearth of qualified specialists. He decided to make it his career’s mission to treat this complex, disabling, and potentially deadly subgroup of oncology.

“To look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back at you – it’s shocking,” said Christine Brader, 49, an oral cancer activist who has survived three bouts with the disease. “I couldn’t believe it was me. Children would be scared of me out in public. I looked like a monster.”

 

Complex Complications

After “too many surgeries to count,” including the removal of her teeth and half of her jaw, implantation of a titanium plate (which her body rejected), and radiation and chemotherapy, Brader is now cancer free and maintains the use of her voice.

But it wasn’t an easy road. Oral cancer affects everything, said Brader – the way you look, the way you speak, your ability to eat and swallow. She spent two weeks in a medically induced coma, months in the hospital, and a grueling year-long recovery to get where she is today. She had to give up her job, her dogs, and her beloved home in Lehighton, Pa. The single mother of two had no caregiver to depend on, making the treatments even harder to get through.

“This is different than breast cancer and [cancer of] the internal organs,” said Brader, who is now independent but lives with many aftereffects and tires easily. “There’s no hiding it with clothing.”

She spends much of her time volunteering for the Oral Cancer Foundation’s public forum, helping new members and speaking at awareness events. She speaks to young people and the media regarding the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco. She shares her story freely with the media, attends oral cancer screening events and volunteers for anti-smoking groups. She appeared in a TV commercial for Truth, a national anti-smoking prevention campaign, and the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign.

“I try to make a difference,” Brader said. “I tell young people, ‘if someone you know starts smoking, be a friend and try to help them quit.’ It could save their life. By never starting to smoke, you never have to quit.”

 

Emergence of HPV

Brader began smoking as a teenager as a result of peer pressure, and continued the habit throughout her life. Her journey with oral cancer represents the traditional path – for decades, oral cancer was a disease of lifelong tobacco users that showed up later in life.

Fortunately, patient education regarding the riskiness of smoking, chewing tobacco and alcohol abuse has lowered the incidence of oral cancers from those origins, said Day.

However, a new contributing factor has moved into its place – human papilloma virus number 16 (HPV16). HPV16 is a common sexually transferred virus that is also responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women. It’s now responsible for about 52% of newly diagnosed patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

The emergence of HPV16 as a risk factor has changed the demographic of oral cancers in the U.S. The disease is trending younger; the fastest growing segment of the oropharyngeal cancer population is those between the ages of 25 and 50, said Day. This is primarily due to HPV16, and cancers from this origin typically occur in the area of the throat behind the mouth, in the oropharynx, tonsils, and at the base of the tongue.

It also means oral and oropharyngeal cancers can strike in subtle silence; when in years past, a history of smoking or using chewing tobacco might prompt primary care physicians and their patients to be more diligent in screenings, HPV is a silent invader that can display little or no symptoms until it’s too late.

“HPV is definitely the coming epidemic in oral cancer,” said Brian Hill, a stage four oral cancer survivor and founder of the Oral Cancer Foundation. Hill had never used tobacco and his cancer – of an HPV16 etiology – was detected after bilaterally metastasizing and progressing into his cervical lymph nodes.

“My own journey included radiation and surgery, back in the days before IMRT [intensity modulated radiation therapy], and a very difficult and protracted recovery with significant quality of life issues, now a decade out,” Hill said.

 

Partners in Prevention

For Day, the ideal strategy to get a handle on the disconcerting mortality rates associated with oral cancer arises from a partnership between primary care physicians and dental professionals providing routine screenings for early-stage symptoms and swiftly referring to specialists.

Survival rates after early detection (stages 1 and 2) can be 80%-90%, while survival rates of late-stage detections (after the disease has advanced to stage 3 and 4) fall to 40%-50%, said Shin.

Head and neck screenings for cancer are relatively simple, painless, two- to three-minute visual and tactile exams performed in the dentist’s office, said Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD, a general practice and cosmetic dentist in New York City, and spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry.

“You’re looking for any asymmetries, sores that don’t heal, abnormal lesions that seem suspect,” said Rhee, who makes these screenings part of her regular dental exams along with obtaining a thorough patient history to uncover potential signs and risk factors before they become major problems.

And new technology is making these screenings even easier for dentists, explained Rhee. Handheld blue-spectrum light emitters such as the Velscope shined inside the mouth will illuminate soft tissue abnormalities in different patterns than healthy tissue. This can aid dentists in detecting cancers even before they can be picked up by the unassisted eye.

“Early detection is where we’ll make a difference,” said Rhee. “[Dentists] are often the first line of defense.” She adds that HPV vaccinations for cervical cancer administered in the pre-teen years are another potential course of action being studied to help prevent these diseases. The Oral Cancer Foundation supports the use of the HPV vaccine for its potential in reducing the incidence of oral cancer, though the FDA currently prohibits drug manufacturers from making this specific claim.

“We highly encourage people who have precancerous lesions in the oral cavity or voice box [to] participate in clinical trials of chemoprevention to block the progression to invasive cancer,” said Shin.

 

Spreading the Word

While dental professionals work on the front lines to detect cases early, and researchers work tirelessly to unearth promising new treatments,

Wilck, Brader and a small army of former patients and activists travel the country speaking to schools, community groups and media outlets to underscore the importance of avoiding risk factors and receiving periodic screenings.

To mark Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the Oral Cancer Foundation is teaming with dental offices nationwide to offer free oral cancer screenings throughout April. Over 1200 free screening events are taking place in dental offices across America. A list is viewable at www.oralcancer-screening.org/events/.

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance this year sponsored the 16th annual Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week April 14-20, said Day, who serves as president of the HNCA. This weeklong series of events promotes awareness and offers free screenings. Details are at http://www.ohancaw.com/.

“Reducing the high death rate associated with oral cancer is a tangible opportunity today,” said Hill. “We do need increased public awareness, coupled with an engaged professional dental and medical community doing opportunistic screenings.”

“My role these days is to keep people from taking the same path I did,” said Wilck. “If I reach just one person, it’s been worth it.”

 

 

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy. 

 

Oral cancer on the rise in the US; Americans unaware of major risk factors

Source: Dental Tribune

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., USA: New research conducted on behalf of the Oral Cancer Foundation has found that many Americans are unaware of the fact that the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus, is the fastest-growing risk factor for oral cancer. The data supports the current consensus that awareness of oral cancer and early discovery measures is low, and that most Americans do not recognize that the profile of the oral cancer patient has evolved from heavy smokers and drinkers to anyone who is sexually active.

According to the OCF, approximately 40,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year in which there has been an increase in the incidence rate of the dangerous disease. Oral cancer is often caught in the late stages, when the five-year survival rate is less than 50 percent. When diagnosed in the early stages of development, oral cancer patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate.

The results of the national survey, conducted by market research consultancy Kelton among a representative sample of 1,024 Americans aged 18 and over, indicated that more than four in five Americans know that smoking (83 percent) and chewing tobacco (83 percent) are risk factors. However, the survey also revealed that they remain in the dark about other potential causes of oral cancer, including alcohol consumption and HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection.

The survey showed that women tend to be slightly more aware of the risk factors of oral cancer than men. Forty percent of women and 33 percent of men correctly recognize alcohol consumption as a risk factor for oral cancer, but less than 30 percent of both sexes realize that a sexually transmitted virus is a causative factor for the disease.

“Oral cancer takes the life of one person an hour and for those who do survive, it can be severely disfiguring and debilitating,” said Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the OCF and a stage-four oral cancer survivor. “It’s one of the few types of cancer that hasn’t experienced a significant decline in fatalities over the past several decades. To reverse this trend, we need to create awareness that virtually everyone over the age of 18 is potentially at risk and hence in need of an opportunistic annual oral cancer screening.”

According to Hill, because people are not aware of the risk factors, they do not take a proactive approach to screening and early detection of oral cancer, which has a high survival rate if diagnosed early.

OCF is currently organizing an extensive effort to promote Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April and to encourage dental and medical practices throughout the U.S. and Canada to offer free oral cancer screenings during the month. Several companies and organizations are co-sponsoring OCF’s efforts, including LED Dental, manufacturer of the VELscope Vx oral cancer screening system. The OCF survey was funded in part by the company.

A summary of the recently released survey, “Americans’ appreciation for their mouth overshadowed by their lack of awareness of oral cancer”, is available at www.oralcancer.org/study. The survey document includes detailed information about specific risk factors, as well as a summary of the survey results. The breakout report, which includes the survey questions and detailed answers, is also available on the same webpage.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Source: Aspen Dental

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. According to Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation, as many as 40,000 people in the United States will be told they have oral or pharyngeal cancer in 2012. Some of them may be sitting in your dental chair today. With one person dying of oral cancer every hour of every day, and more than 50% of those diagnosed not living more than 5 years, this is a reminder to screen every patient yourself, and encourage your dental hygiene staff to do the same.

The Statistics

About 100 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every day in the United States. Few people are aware that the death rate for oral cancer is higher than for many other types of cancers, which is because oral cancer often is not discovered until it has reached later stages. This is particularly true for human papilloma virus number 16 (HPV16)-related oral cancer, which occurs most frequently in the posterior areas of the mouth—at the base of the tongue, around the tonsils, and in the oropharynx—where it’s harder to spot without a very thorough exam. To further complicate things, HPV16-related cancer does not always present the tell-tale physical characteristics, including lesions, that are easily distinguished from healthy oral tissues. This is not good news, because HPV16 has reached epidemic levels in the United States: of the 37,000 incidences of oral cancer, about 20,000 (up to 60%) can be linked to HPV, according to Hill.

Oral cancer accounts for 85% of the cancers grouped under “head and neck” cancers. If the number of larynx cancer cases (for which the historic risk factors; tobacco and alcohol are the same) is added to the oral cancer category, we’re now talking 50,000 people diagnosed yearly and 13,500 deaths per year in this country. More than 640,000 new cases occur worldwide annually. These stats do not include brain cancer, which is its own category.

“Late discovery and misdiagnosis are the biggest problems,” Hill says. “I’m a very typical example of this.” Hill was misdiagnosed with an infection by a physician when a painless lump appeared on the side of his neck. When it had not resolved after a course of antibiotics, Hill, who had a background in dentistry, insisted on having a needle aspiration biopsy. Testing resulted in a diagnosis of HPV16-related squamous cell carcinoma, a very deadly cancer. Fourteen years after extensive surgery, and both radiation and chemotherapy, he has since heard from literally thousands of people that they were misdiagnosed more than once, told not to worry about it, or were merely given antibiotics. “Why are so many people diagnosed late?” Hill asks. “Because, according to one study,probably under 20% of dentists are performing oral screenings.” 1 Another problem is that public awareness about oral cancer, its early signs and symptoms, and its changing etiology, is low. Additionally, oral cancer has historically been linked to long-term tobacco use and high alcohol consumption (or a combination of both), with associated lesions usually seen in the anterior areas of the oral cavity. With the prevalence of HPV16-related oral cancer increasing at an alarming rate, and tobacco-related cancers on the decline, it is critical that dental and medical professionals re-educate the public to understand the current risk factors and the need for an annual professional screening.

The Impact of HPV16

It was reported in 2009, before the advent of HPV-related cancers, that oral cancer incidence rates were more than twice as high in men as in women, and both were on the decline.2 That was before HPV-infected individuals became the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. HPV16 is a human papillomavirus related to more than 150 other HPV versions, over 40 of which can be easily sexually transmitted.3 Nine of these are known to be cancer causing. HPV’s were directly linked to cervical cancer, also squamous cell carcinoma, which was the number one killer of women in 1948. “Using the cervical cancer model, once ‘opportunistic’ screening and PAP testing became routine, the cervical cancer death rate dropped 71% in 10 years,” Hill notes. “We have no ‘viruscide’. But we do have an HPV vaccine that can be administered before young people become sexually active.” This is important information to share with patients, because 50%-80% of Americans will have HPV in their lifetime according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About half of all men and more than 3 out of 4 women will be diagnosed with it at some point.4

Detection vs Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms or oral cancer, if there are any, range from a sore area or lesion that bleeds easily, a lump or thickening of tissues in the mouth or neck, ear pain, indurations or hard spots in the mucosa, or a red or white patch or ulceration that does not resolve within 2 weeks. If any of these are evident, the patient should return within 7-14 days to confirm either persistence or resolution. Later symptoms include difficulty chewing, swallowing, and/or moving the tongue or jaws.2

Early stage (1 and 2) lesions, which may not be readily evident during a routine exam, usually are asymptomatic and often mimic other conditions.5 It is important for dentists to acknowledge that malignant and benign lesions are virtually indistinguishable clinically, and their biological relevance cannot be assessed based on their appearance.5 Most resources advise referring any persistent abnormalities to a specialist. “We have a highly defined referral system in dentistry,” Hill points out. “You don’t have to learn anything new; you don’t have to be the expert. You just have to refer suspect tissues up the professional chain for proper evaluation/biopsy. There are many kinds of oral lesions. You may see only 3 cancer cases in 20 years of practicing dentistry, but every time you find something, especially in stage 1 or 2, you have the opportunity to save a life. Dentists are the first line of defense.”

The American Cancer Society estimated in 2009 that almost 90% of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, and more than 97% of these cancers occur in adults 35 years and older.5 People ranging in age from 25-50 who never smoked are the fastest growing group being diagnosed with HPV16-related oral cancer.6

Standard treatment usually involves radiation therapy and surgery, and often chemotherapy.2 Relative survival rates vary by stage at the time of diagnosis—in 2009, about 83% survived 1 year after diagnosis, 60% 5 years after diagnosis, and 49% after 10 years.2 However, today, the 5-year survival rate is only about 57% when you include all stages of the disease at time of discovery. This high death rate is directly tied to late discovery, when treatments are less effective.7 Studies reveal that oral and pharyngeal cancer are diagnosed at a localized stage in only one-third of patients in the United States.5 It’s time to make a difference.

The Oral Cancer Foundation

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) is a national public service, non-profit organization dedicated to oral cancer prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities. Its website, www.oralcancerfoundation.org, provides vetted information about rates of occurrence, risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatments, current research, complications, nutrition, clinical trials, related news, links to other sources, and treatment institutions. A free, anonymous, 8700-member patient/survivor discussion forum is open to the public, providing insights and inspiration. OCF also has a free RSS oral cancer news feed you may subscribe to which is updated several times a week. OCF is a valuable resource for patients, students, and practicing medical and dental professionals.

Visit oralcancerfoundation.org to learn of its Oral Cancer Awareness Month initiatives (such as hosting a free screening event in April), and find information to share with your patients.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

Oral Cancer Foundation Sponsors 13th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April 2012

Source: Dentistry IQ

Organization encouraging dental professionals to offer free screenings to the public

Did you know that the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer community is young, healthy non-smokers? It’s shocking but true. Exposure to the HPV-16 virus, the most common sexually transmitted infection, is now the leading cause of oral cancers in the U.S. There is little that can be done to stop this virus from spreading. Our only hope to save lives is through increased professional involvement and public awareness to generate early discovery of the disease process. To that end, the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) is encouraging the dental community to get involved in Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April 2012 by offering free oral cancer screenings to the public in a national effort to raise awareness of this silent killer.

Oral cancer has existed outside the consciousness of much of the public, which is one reason 37,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed this year alone. That is about 100 new people a day. That lack of awareness has contributed to this cancer not being discovered until very late in its development. By implementing a public awareness campaign, OCF wants to educate the public about the risk factors, early signs and symptoms of the disease, as well as the need for all adults to undergo an annual oral cancer screening. In the early stages of oral cancer’s development, it is often is painless, and physical signs may not be obvious to an individual. This makes it a very dangerous disease and is also the reason it is crucial to have an annual oral cancer screening. OCF is asking dental and medical professionals nationwide to act as the first line of defense against oral cancer through the process of early discovery, and to raise public awareness of this cause by opening their doors for at least a half-day, during the month of April, to opportunistically screen members of their community.

These screenings are more important now than ever. Oral cancer is one of the few cancers that are on the rise in the U.S. When found early, oral cancers have an 80% or better survival rate. Unfortunately, most oral cancers are found in late stages, when the five-year survival rate plummets to about 30%. Late stage diagnosis can be greatly reduced through increased public awareness of these facts, and OCF believes that a national program of opportunistic screenings is the best means of creating that awareness.

A visit to the dentist is no longer just about a cleaning or restorative procedures; when a dental exam includes a simple, painless, visual and tactile oral cancer screening, it can save your life. The Oral Cancer Foundation urges you to find out if your local dentist is participating in Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April by visiting OCF’s event section of the website at http://ow.ly/8jzhN. If you do not see your dental practice listed, please encourage them to contact the Foundation for more information on how easy it is for them to participate. Like other screenings you may receive, such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its earliest and highly treatable stage. Of all these screenings, the one for oral cancer is the least invasive and time-consuming. It is also affordable and in many cases, it may even be free.

The Oral Cancer Foundation is a big believer in the development of strategic partnerships. In April 2012, OCF will again join forces with both professional societies and private sector companies who are stakeholders in this disease. The American Dental Association, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Oral Medicine form the core of the professional society sponsorship. OCF has also aligned with private sector entities Henry Schein Inc., LED Dental, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, who are asking their customer base to be active in this April’s endeavor. In addition, the 21 treatment facilities with head and neck departments that participated in 2011’s effort are expected to participate again in 2012. With the help of these partners in 2011, OCF was able to create over 2,000 screening sites/events, a ten-fold increase over any previous year. These events, combined with 7 major walk/run awareness events coordinated by OCF, resulted in over 50,000 individual screenings for this deadly disease during April alone. For 2012, the Foundation and its partners have set of goal of at least doubling those results.

Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Each hour of every day, one American dies of the disease, and four more Americans are newly diagnosed. These staggering statistics are the result of the public’s low awareness of the diseases risk factors, which makes these free screening events so crucial. This disease can be defeated, but only with an informed public supported by involved professionals who want to make a difference in the world of oral cancer.

About the Oral Cancer Foundation: The Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian R. Hill, is a non-profit 501(c) 3 public service charity that provides information, patient support, sponsorship of research, and advocacy related to this disease. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, head and neck cancer, and throat cancer. It maintains a Web site at http://www.oralcancer.org, which receives millions of hits per month. Supporting the foundation’s goals is a scientific advisory board composed of leading cancer authorities from varied medical and dental specialties, and from prominent educational, treatment, and research institutions in the United States.

Oral Cancer Foundation breaks records in April’s Awareness and Screening Month

Source: MSNBC News
Author: staff

Oral cancer is an insidious disease that too often is not discovered until very late in its development, as it might not produce symptoms the average person may notice. By then treatments are less effective, and because of late discovery in far too many patients, it has a five year survival rate of only about 57%, much lower than cancers we commonly hear about. Oral cancer has existed outside the awareness of much of the public, yet it will take one life, every hour of every day in the U.S. This year the combination of unprecedented efforts by the relatively small, non-profit Oral Cancer Foundation, a coalition of strategic partners they formed, and a dose of celebrity power, created what might be called a perfect storm; and one that potentially will change public awareness of one of the few cancers that is actually increasing in incidence in the U.S.

For thirteen years in a row, April has been oral cancer awareness month nationally. More than 85% of all head and neck cancers are oral and oropharyngeal disease. Historically, a loose coalition of stakeholders in the disease has mustered about 200 screening events in April in facilities ranging from large institutions to individual dental offices around the country. Those participants opened their doors for at least a half-day to opportunistically screen members of the public in their communities for free, to find early stage disease, and to raise public awareness.

This year the Oral Cancer Foundation, which assumed responsibility for the logistics and promotion of the April effort, was able to create nearly 2,000 sites/events, a ten-fold increase over any previous year. In combination with 4 major walk/run awareness events the Foundation coordinated in April, tens of thousands of individual screenings for this deadly disease were conducted.

When speaking of this unprecedented success, Brian Hill, the Executive Director of the Oral Cancer Foundation, who is also a survivor of a late stage 4 oral cancer, stated, “I think that several things impacted our success. As a small organization that routinely deals with limited funding and human resources, we historically build strategic alliances to accomplish our goals. As a result, we had established relationships with large and powerful organizations to tap for help. We have a significant membership base of private practice doctors and clinical institutions that were already in place to actually accomplish the screenings, and the foundation put some of its other agendas on hold during March and April, to apply ourselves fully to the task. Combine those assets with an “A-list” celebrity who has recently come out of treatment for the disease, award-wining actor Michael Douglas, altruistically choosing to use his significant celebrity and visibility to advocate for early detection. His prime time appearances on Oprah, The Today Show and The View, discussing the need for early discovery and asking the American public to get screened for the disease, and you have an optimum environment to be successful.”

Dr. Michael Alfano, Vice Chancellor of NYU, and one of the Oral Cancer Foundation’s advisors, was particularly impressed with the metrics at the end of the month. Dr. Alfano has been an oral cancer advocate for decades, and his insightful development of the Oral Cancer Consortium, a confederacy of allied universities, and medical institutions in NY, NJ, and PA began the April screening efforts in 1998. That group continues to be involved today. “I am very pleased that OCF continues to build on their many positive credits in the world of oral cancer. To see what this idea has now become is highly gratifying. Screening has enormous potential to save lives when applied in an opportunistic manner. When the dental community, which is routinely and daily involved in the oral environment, embraces this issue, they become an important first line of defense against these cancers through early discovery of suspect tissues. OCF’s ability to organize these dental practices, and move them to active participation clearly has made a difference.”

The screenings this April were primarily visual and tactile, though many offices used some adjunctive devices in their efforts. None of these devices like the VELscope which uses a wavelength-specific beam of blue light to identify tissues with abnormalities in the oral cavity, are in any way invasive to the patients. Jamie O’Day, the Treatment Facilities Coordinator for OCF observed, “This particular cancer lends itself well to a screening methodology which is quick, painless, and even outside the realm of April’s free events, very inexpensive to accomplish. It is primarily visual and tactile, with the medical and dental professionals looking for things that a layperson may not notice, since they are often painless. Something as simple as a tissue discoloration, a hard painless lymph node in the neck, or in a patient’s verbal history taking, the statement that when swallowing they feel like something is painlessly stuck in their throat, or swallowing has become more difficult, are just a few of the signs and symptoms that professionals know are red flags. While there are more potential symptoms, I state these to illustrate how someone might easily ignore them, allowing a potentially deadly situation to prosper to a more advanced stage.”

“This is the very reason that an annual exam by a trained professional is so important,” Brian Hill added. “There is no question that annual screening and testing for potentially life threatening diseases has become the norm in the U.S. today. There are legitimate concerns about the financial impacts of some of these screenings, whether private or third party paid, and the invasiveness of them as well. Oral cancer screening is likely the least expensive or invasive cancer screening a person can have. I often joke that it is so simple that in the five-minute procedure you don’t even have to take your clothes off. As to expense, many dental offices conduct this cancer exam just as part of their normal intra and extra oral exam with no additional charges.”

Several of OCF’s partners, which the foundation credits with much of the successful turnout this year, are heavy hitters in the world of dentistry, and included both professional organizations and private sector firms.

Dr. Ross Kerr, chair of the Oral Cancer Task Force of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, said of his organizations involvement, “Oral cancer is on the rise in the U.S.. A new viral etiology, Human Papilloma Virus #16 (HPV16) is bringing a new demographic of individuals to the disease. This is the same virus which is a cause of cervical cancers in women. A decade ago, we were confident that we knew who was at high risk for oral cancers, but today that is significantly less so with this viral component as a cause. Historically those who smoked for decades, or were heavy alcohol consumers, developed these cancers after their fifth decade of life. Today we are seeing young, non-smoking individuals as the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. While that historic group still is a concern, this new demographic makes differentiation of those at high risk much more problematic. I think that the foundation’s approach to this through opportunistic screening is particularly important today. We may in the future have biological markers that we could test through salivary diagnostics to isolate those most at risk, but today the conventional screening protocol is the tool that we can immediately apply to the problem with tangible results. We (AAOM) were very pleased to be a partner with the Oral Cancer Foundation this year, and will continue to be involved in their future efforts. They clearly understand and can apply the mechanisms to get results.”

Two other dental professional groups also joined OCF’s efforts: The American Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Mr. Hill commented that this commitment from these two powerful dental organizations represented a partnership that he has been working towards for some time. “The April awareness initiative was the tipping point opportunity to formalize a joint effort with these two organizations,” said Hill, “and both provided the outreach we needed to bring on private dental practices as screening sites. AGD provided the foundation with a full-page ad in the March issue of their journal Impact, which reaches the vast majority of all general dentists in the U.S. This contribution helped greatly. The ADA also through their publications, encouraged the dental community to partner with us through targeted stories. I think the partnership was made possible this year by changes inside the ADA, particularly the naming of Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin to the Executive Director position. She is an individual who brings a significant public health background, combined with her own social consciousness to the organization, and I am optimistic that this is just the beginning of things that we can accomplish together. We could not have reached the significant level of dental participations without them.”

In the private sector, the Foundation sought to expand an existing relationship with the world’s largest dental products distribution company and a Fortune 500 member, Henry Schein Inc. Chairman of the Board and CEO Stanley Bergman created a call to action letter directed at their tens of thousands of US customers, asking them to join the effort with OCF. When combined with the messages that were already on the dental community’s radar, this direct request for their involvement was pivotal. LED Dental Inc. also reached out to thousands of customers who use their oral cancer screening tool, the VELscope, and contributed to the dental outreach as well. Outside the world of dentistry, pharmaceutical giant Bristol Meyers Squibb partially supported the costs of the effort through a dedicated grant given to OCF. “This was our first year working with BMS,” observed Megan Cannon, OCF’s Director of Operations, “and I hope that this huge leap OCF was able to facilitate in public awareness, screening sites, and numbers of individuals screened, will fuel their desire to work with OCF in a bigger way in the future. For all the donated time by screeners and volunteers, there is a significant financial component to doing this annual event well. We could not have grown this awareness month program without that generous financial support.” The balance of the funding that the Foundation needed to accomplish this year’s success came from an unrestricted grant in 2010 from The Entertainment Industry Foundation, a longtime supporter of the Oral Cancer Foundation, through the affiliated Bruce Paltrow Fund. OCF Founder Hill stated, “Many of our most important accomplishments in the last couple of years have only been possible through EIF’s generosity. They have been the strongest of all OCF’s supporters, and valuable allies in the war against cancer. They are the powerhouse behind the highly visible and effective Stand Up 2 Cancer effort, that is a catalyst for breakthrough ideas and collaborations in medicine that have not previously existed. We are proud to be official partners with them in their Stand Up 2 Cancer program, and now with their financial support of our efforts, we have developed a more complex and productive synergy.”

According to Mr. Hill, “This year’s screening and awareness events were a huge success by past standards, and I am very proud of what The Oral Cancer Foundation has accomplished. In fact, the efforts were so successful, that we have extended the events into May, and some offices are even signing up to do events in June. My only regret is that we were asked to take on the April effort so late in the game, with only about 4 weeks to pull things together. I believe that next year, with plenty of time to fine tune what we have learned, drum up additional financial support for the national screening and awareness month, and add new components to the program, that we and our partners will be able to accomplish truly amazing things.”

Oral Cancer is not a rare disease. It kills one person every hour of every day in the U.S., and 100 new individuals will be diagnosed each day with oral cancer. These staggering statistics make these free events crucial, as awareness of the disease and its risk factors in the U.S. population is so low. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include anatomical sites where it occurs such as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, head and neck cancer, and throat cancer. While treatments for it can be effective, survivors are often left with significant quality of life issues, including impaired speech, swallowing dysfunctions, and facial disfigurements from surgeries.

Contact for further information: Brian Hill, Executive Director OCF, bhill@oralcancerfoundation.org  (949)278-4362

Additional information can be found on the Foundation’s web site http://www.oralcancer.org

The Oral Cancer Foundation is an IRS registered 501c3 non-profit public charity.