Penn Dental’s Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk/5K Raises Over $18K for Oral Cancer Care, Research


Philadelphia – Raising awareness of oral cancer and the importance of early detection, Penn Dental Medicine’s 11th annual Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk/5K and Community Wellness Event drew more than 300 participants and raised more than $18,000 in support of the School’s oral cancer care and research efforts. The student-organized event was held on May 11.

“The students did a tremendous job in producing a very successful event,” says Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief of Community Oral Health and a faculty advisor for the event along with Dr. Thomas Sollecito, Chair and Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine. “Early diagnosis makes significant difference in patient outcomes, and we were pleased to be able to provide oral cancer screenings as part of this event.” This year’s student co-chairs were Stephanie Chen (D’20) and Marie-Elena Cronin (D’20).

Along with the walk and run, which took place in Shoemaker Green at Penn Park, the Community Wellness Event with free oral cancer screenings was held at Penn Dental Medicine. That portion of the event also included oral health education, music, and refreshments.

In 2019, The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 53,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the back of the mouth (oropharynx), and the exterior lip of the mouth. However, the Foundation also reports that when found at early stages of development, oral cancers can have an 80 to 90 % survival rate.