On Friday April 26, 2019, DentalCast Productions hosted the first ever, Oral Cancer Awareness Socialthon.
The socialthon reached over 100,000 people through social media and 12,000 people viewed the live event hosted on Facebook. The dollar amount of donations is still coming in. Final dollars are not known but it should break $13,000.\
Oral Cancer Cause (OCC) was founded in 2013 by Linda Miles and Robin Morrison in memory of Charlotte Estep Linda Miles’ sister-in-law, and Mike Collins, Robin Morrison’s brother. Charlotte and Mike passed away in 2012 after suffering for several years from oral cancer. Both went undiagnosed for an extended amount of time, thereby allowing their disease to progress to an advanced and untreatable stage.
Linda and Robin share a passion for dentistry and saving lives and this is the OCC inspiration. By blending the knowledge of early detection and treatment; comprehensive oral exams along with dedicated dental/medical professionals; sponsoring partners; and dental/medical associations, OCC will make a difference in the lives of many oral cancer patients and their families.
On Friday April 26 the Socialthon brought together 48 dental industry luminaries to discuss prevention of this horrible disease and help put a halt to the amount of undiagnosed cases of oral cancer.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 53,000 new cases of oral cavity and pharynx cancer diagnosed.
In 2016 it was estimated that 370,309 people living with oral cavity and pharynx cancer in the United States.
1. What can we as dental professionals do to put a halt to this life altering and debilitating disease?
The Socialthon was the first ever event that brought together so many dental professionals to change the climate of this disease and spread the work to halt the disease.
2. What can healthcare professionals do to reduce the rate of oral and pharynx cancer diagnosis?
• Education from dental providers to other dental providers is a great place to start.
• Too many clinicians are not taking the time (less than 5 minutes annually) to screen patients.
• All healthcare providers must take an interest to talk with their patients about annual screening.
• The dental professional must learn ways to talk about “prevention” of oral and pharynx cancer as well as explain the value and benefits of oral cancer screening.
• Teens must be educated at the proper time in the proper place about safe sex and how to protect themselves from exposure to HPV which is the #1 cause of pharynx cancer.
To hear from the 48 dental luminaries, the stories and suggestions to prevent oral cancer please click the linkto the live event.
Are you doing oral cancer screenings in your office?
What do you tell your patients when you are providing this life-saving exam?
Do you use Fluorescence technology to screen? Fluorescence technology does not detect oral cancer but will detect oral abnormalities. Most patients when diagnosed with oral cancer are diagnosed at stage IV and using the Fluorescence technology, OralIDR
Patients can eliminate life-threatening surgery and treatment for cancer.
Using the OralIDR means you can discover abnormal cells and prevent a grim diagnosis. You will also help save more lives by using the fluorescence technology to detect abnormalities vs. waiting until you can see or feel a lesion.
Be sure to check out the website for OralIDR because they have a lot of resources to help educate your patients about screenings and prevention of oral and pharynx cancer. The website with information can be found here.
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder and CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is also a former dental hygiene program director. Her expertise is optimizing the hygiene department by taking a total team approach; including the doctor as the leader.
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