National Cancer Network Promotes Early Detection to Save Lives



Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH, a proponent for the early detection of oral cancer, is continuing her advocacy efforts by launching the nonprofit 501(c)(3) National Cancer Network.

“Dental professionals are the early warning system of the healthcare profession because we see our patients on an average of once a year, and they spend a lot of time in our chairs,” said Zafiropoulos.

“In addition to conducting a thorough oral exam, we can be paying closer attention to any abnormalities we notice on the patient’s skin or any complaints described in their patient history form such as persistent sore throat, cough, zone tingling or tenderness,” she said.

When something suspicious is discovered, Zafiropoulos said that it is the responsibility of all dental professionals to integrate with other allied health professionals and make the appropriate qualified referrals sooner rather than later.

“By taking the initiative to break down the silos between the various healthcare disciplines, we can significantly reduce the mortality rates of a wide variety of cancers,” Zafiropoulos said.

The National Cancer Network will focus on consumer awareness and professional training in the form of live patient screening events and professional training courses throughout the country, including the introduction of a new exam protocol.

The group’s first event will be held in conjunction with the First District Dental Hygiene Society component of the Tennessee Dental Hygienists Association on September 16 in Kingsport, Tenn.

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