Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine students are partnering with the national Oral Cancer Foundation to present Philadelphia’s 3rd Annual Oral Cancer Walk on Saturday, April 16, recognizing Oral Cancer Awareness Month and bringing attention to the disease and the importance of early detection.
“We are proud that our students have taken the initiative to increase the awareness of oral cancer and its potential risks to our health within the Philadelphia community,” says Dr. Denis Kinane, the Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine.
The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 37,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2011, which includes cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat. When found early, there is an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. However, due to a lack of public awareness, the majority of cases are found as late-stage cancers that can be killers.
To promote early detection, free head and neck screenings will be conducted throughout the event (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) by Penn Dental Medicine faculty. The 3.1-mile walk will begin at Penn Dental Medicine (40th and Locust Streets) at 10 a.m., with registration beginning at 9 a.m. All registrants must collect at least $20 in sponsorships to participate and all funds raised will support the work of the national Oral Cancer Foundation. To register for the walk, visit www.oralcancerphilly.org. Registration can also be done on site the date of the event, though advance registration is advised.
The event will also include distribution of oral health products, light refreshments, and informational speakers, including oral cancer survivors Robert Unruh and Eva Grayzel. An interactive performance artist and master storyteller, Grayzel has been a featured speaker for the American Dental Association and continues to share her personal story of surviving Stage IV tongue cancer at medical, nursing, and dental conferences; cancer centers; and dental schools nationwide. A champion for early detection, she developed an oral cancer awareness campaign, SixStepScreening.org, for which she was recognized by the American Academy of Oral Medicine.
Dental practitioners in the region will also have the opportunity to gain continuing education credit at the Walk. Dr. Thomas Sollecito, Professor and Chair of Oral Medicine at Penn Dental Medicine, will present a lecture from 8 – 9 a.m. on oral cancer, the pathogenesis of the disease, and various diagnostic methods. Attendees are eligible to receive one CDE credit hour. The first 10 registrants, who are interested, will also be offered the opportunity for supervised oral cancer screenings with Penn Dental Medicine faculty for an additional one CDE credit (a total of 2 credits). Course fees are waived for registered walkers through sponsorship from the Penn Dental Medicine Office of Continuing Education. To register for the continuing education course, contact the Oral Cancer Walk Executive Board at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, mailing address, and professional credentials.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine), founded in 1878, ranks among the nation’s leaders in oral health education, research, and patient care. The School’s educational programs include a predoctoral DMD program, postgraduate programs in all the major clinical specialties, and a DMD program for foreign-trained dentists through its Program for Advanced Standing Students. The school is also a major provider of oral health care for the Philadelphia community, handling approximately 22,000 patients each year in its clinical teaching facilities and serving residents throughout the region through the Penn Dental Faculty Practices.
The Oral Cancer Foundation is a national public service, nonprofit designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and support activities. Visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org to learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatments, current research and current oral cancer related news, among other important information.
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