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Eyes on oral cancer awareness in April

For Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has posted several resources on its website, including an oral cancer facts sheet and a self-exam guide.

According to National Cancer Institute estimates, in 2013 there will be 41,380 new cases of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx in the United States resulting in 7,890 deaths.

Citing a rise in oral cancers related to human papillomavirus, AAOMS President Miro A. Pavelka said, "It is more important than ever for dentists to examine their patients for early signs of this disease."

The AAOMS also supports the Head and Neck Alliance's Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, April 14-20.

The AAOMS site includes links to the Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian Hill in an effort to provide more public resources. The OCF invites dentists to volunteer in their communities by providing free oral cancer screenings each April.

Mr. Hill, a stage IV survivor of oral cancer, said he appreciates that dentists are more likely than physicians to spot early indications of oral cancer, which often leads to better outcomes.

"The dental community is trained in this," he said. "You can't get out of dental school without understanding oral cancer screening."

The AAOMS oral cancer resources are posted on www.aaoms.org/oral_cancer_awareness.php, and the OCF is located at oralcancerfoundation.org.

Patient education information on oral cancer is available on MouthHealthy.org, the ADA's consumer website. Professional resources on oral cancer are available at ADA.org.