Did you know that head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is among the top ten most fatal cancers in in the US? It is estimated that close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer this year which will result in approximately 8000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour! It has a 5 year survival rate of 75% percent if caught early and a mere 20% if it goes undetected. The major risk factor is smoking and tobacco use. However, more and more cases have been found linked to the HPV virus. Needless to say, dentists are at the front line of defense when it comes to oral cancer, which is why the OCF is urging dentists to screen every patient and organize various events to create awareness of this deadly disease.
Recently at my school, the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) of which I am the president, conducted our annual Oral Cancer Walk. This walkathon is in line with the mission of the OCF,which is to create awareness of the incidence and prevalence of the disease as well as organize a screening event to have patients screened for the disease. A brief lecture was given to first and second year dental students on what oral cancer is, it's prevalence, incidence, mortality rate, etc., followed by live demonstrations. Patients were simultaneously being screened for oral cancer by third and fourth year dental students. After all the hard work, we took to the streets of Washington DC to create awareness.
|A small group of students from Howard University College of Dentistry|
creating awareness of oral cancer in Dupont Circle, Washington DC
Encourage your friends and family to get Screened! Stay away from cigarettes, tobacco and the HPV Virus!