Oral cancer has a fatality rate higher than that of skin, cervical or thyroid cancer, yet the general public is unaware of this cancer. The Student National Dental Association has started an initiative to raise awareness and to provide support for oral cancer research.
On Saturday, April 19, 2014, oral cancer researchers, cancer survivors and their families joined the VCU Student National Dental Association for the 5th Annual Oral Cancer Walk to benefit VCU Philips Institute. Supporters gathered bright and early with enthusiasm to walk Byrd Park’s Landing at Boat Lake for a worthy cause.
The event kicked off with a touching testimony from our keynote speaker, Dania Luby. Luby told the story of her beloved sister Susan who succumbed to her gracious battle with oral cancer in 2004. She was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx in 2002 after a biopsy performed by her oral surgeon. Luby’s touching testimony demonstrated how the battle against cancer not only affects the patient, but also has a strong impact on loved ones. Luby, who was accompanied by her family and friends, stressed the importance of patient education and early detection.
The next speaker, Patrick Ruck, senior dental student at the VCU School of Dentistry and SNDA member, spoke on the importance of early detection from a clinician’s perspective. He was able to detect squamous cell carcinoma on one of his patients after a thorough and routine head and neck exam.
After these riveting speeches, the walk around Boat Lake began. With support from the Virginia Dental Association, Horsey Orthodontics, Southside Oral and Facial Surgery, Dr. Todd Kitten and Dr. Iain Morgan of the VCU Philips Institute, the SNDA raised more than $2,000 to benefit oral cancer research at the VCU Philips Institute. Thank you to everyone who participated!