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Penn Dental Medicine Students Organize Oral Cancer Walk: April 18
April 7, 2009, Volume 55, No. 28


Oral Cancer Walk

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the Penn Dental Medicine Oral Cancer Awareness Society will present the first annual Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk to promote awareness of the disease to members of the dental community and surrounding Philadelphia-area neighborhoods.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 35,000 people in the United States were newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2008, as the rate of occurrence increased for the third consecutive year. The problem is even greater worldwide, with new cases annually exceeding 481,000. Causes of oral cancer include smoking, alcohol abuse, and exposure to HPV-16 (human papillomavirus).

As aspiring dentists, members of the Oral Cancer Awareness Society are focused on increasing the public’s knowledge of oral cancer with hope that cases will be detected and diagnosed early. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that the rate of survival in cases of early detection is 80 to 90 percent. When the cancer is discovered in later stages, the number significantly decreases to 45 percent.

“We hope the event creates more awareness of this serious disease,” says Ann Layvey (D’10), co-president of the Society. “Everyone involved or observing should continue to share what they learned to help address this important health issue.”

The 3.1 mile walk will be held rain or shine, beginning and ending at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, located at 240 South 40th Street (40th and Locust street). Registration starts at 9 a.m., followed by the walk and free oral cancer screenings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided until 2 p.m.

A minimum donation of $20 is required to register or sponsor a participant and survivors of oral cancer may walk free of charge as honored guests. All proceeds will benefit the Oral Cancer Foundation. Sponsors to date of the Oral Cancer Walk include Metlife; Colgate; Health Benefit Solutions, LLC; Proctor and Gamble; The Oral Cancer Foundation; Penn Dental Medicine’s Class of 2010, the School’s Community Health and Service Organization (CHASO), and the Penn Dental Medicine Chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA).

Please visit www.oralcancerwalkphilly.org for more information and to register.

Almanac - April 7, 2009, Volume 55, No. 28