Philadelphia – April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month and Penn Dental Medicine students once again teamed with dental students from Temple University and predental students from Villanova University to bring attention to the disease and the importance of early detection through the annual Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk and 5K. Held April 8, the Walk and 5K raised more than $20,000 in support of the Oral Cancer Foundation.
This year was the 10th anniversary of the event and drew 328 participants.
The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 51,550 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral/oropharyngeal cancer this year.
“Historically, the death rate associated with this oral cancer is high in part because of delays in diagnose,” says Dr. Thomas Sollecito, Professor and Chair of Oral Medicine and a faculty advisor for the event, “that is why oral examination and early detection is so important.”
Free oral cancer screenings for the general public, conducted by Penn Dental Medicine faculty ,Oral Medicine residents and students in the School’s Department of Oral Medicine clinic, were part of the day’s activities.
“The public needs to be aware of changes in their oral cavity,” adds Dr. Sollecito, “and see their dentist at the first signs or symptoms of a potential problem.”