Nearly 600 Aspen Dental practices in 35 states donated a combined $30,795 to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) as the result of an oral cancer screening program held in April as part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
During April, Aspen Dental practices contributed $5 for each adjunctive oral cancer screening they conducted. In total, 6,159 patients were screened. Since 2010, Aspen Dental practices have donated more than $135,000 to OCF.
“The incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers has increased again this year, and we estimate that nearly 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer in 2017, with almost a fifth of those individuals dying from it this year,” said Natalie Riggs, director of special projects for the OCF.
“Through the work of our partners like Aspen Dental, we are able to prevent further deaths by providing Americans more screenings as well as the resources required to facilitate disease awareness, early discovery, and improve treatments and their outcomes for oral cancer,” Riggs said.
Oral cancer frequently is preceded by visible premalignant lesions, and it can be diagnosed in stage I or II with adjunctive screenings. When caught early and treated, the survival rate is 80% to 90%.
“It is incredibly important we continue 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 Maureen Howes, vice president of hygiene services for Aspen Dental Management.
“Many Americans don’t realize it, but oral cancer screenings need to be as much a part of your routine dental visit as a preventative cleaning from the hygienist, and it is important that all dentists continue to serve as a first line of defense in identifying and diagnosing this deadly cancer,” Howes said.