As 2017 comes to a close, we leave behind an exciting and fulfilling year at The Oral Cancer Foundation. After nearly 17 years of helping to better the lives of those affected by this deadly disease, the year reflects another where our engagement has increased. The areas in which we interact with patients, treatment professionals, researchers, policy professionals at the NIH and its subordinate organizations, and the dental community who are part of the early discovery paradigm, continues to increase as well. 2017 has seen OCF develop countless new relationships that have helped us further our missions. For this, we are immensely grateful. With a total of 30 walks/run fundraising events this year, we have been fortunate to have patients, survivors, dental professionals, volunteers, and donors support us along the way. The community that has continued to grow around us has made OCF a relevant force in this battle. With your generosity and hard work, we have been able to build the structure of a bigger picture we hope to fulfill- a society with the understanding and scientific technology to not only treat oral cancer more effectively, but to be educated enough to be engaged in self-discovery of signs and symptoms that will catch it at the earliest stages. Every contribution- be it big or small, is funding that enhanced future for those affected by oral cancer, while enabling others to avoid risk factors that bring them to it, or teach individuals to find it early should it enter their lives. The Oral Cancer Foundation is dedicated to expanding research to better understand and fight this disease. That is why each year OCF funds a variety of scientific researchers working in the field of oral cancer. This year and continuing into 2018, we are once again proudly working with Maura Gillison, MD, head and neck medical oncologist and molecular epidemiologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Your donations have been partially applied to her latest research in immunotherapy including modifying and targeting more precisely through gene editing Car-T Cells which have been effective in other cancers for use in head and neck malignancies. Our commitment to her in this work is a multi-year grant and continues for 2 more years. Gillison’s pioneering research in another immunotherapy contributed to the development of the breakthrough immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs that are now FDA approved for patients in the head and neck community. We also supported Dr’s Fakhry and D’Souza at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center who help us understand at a population level, the impact of having an oral HPV16 infection, and what does that infection mean in actual numbers of individuals that will ultimately cascade into a cancer. Now, with important new ideas ready to enter clinical trials, more than ever we need the support of those who fight alongside us as donors to this work. As the giving season approaches, we hope you will again choose to support OCF so we may continue our funding of the sciences, and the patient centric support, and community outreach in prevention that we engage in. From all of us at The Oral Cancer Foundation, we are proud to have so many inspiring and committed allies. May the New Year bring good fortune and health to you all.
Oral cancer kills one person in America every hour of everyday, 24-7-365. Due to late detection of this disease, only about half of those newly diagnosed will be alive in 5 years. The leading causes of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are well understood in 90% of cases; HPV and tobacco use. While we would like to work towards an immediate solution, the development of these cancers cannot be immediately stopped; as one requires vaccination at a pre sexual age which will not have an impact for a generation, and the other is an addictive habit that has stayed constant in use in about 18% of the US population, with cessation efforts having only a small impact. If we cannot immediately change these things, the next best opportunity to save lives and reduce the impact of the very harsh treatments is early discovery. When oral cancer is discovered in an early stage, the outcomes are starkly different than when compared to late stage detection. Early stage finds reduce treatment related morbidity and compromises to quality of life, and ultimately yield better long-term outcomes and longevity. The Oral Cancer Foundation has begun a new initiative. One that will teach individuals with no current training how to find suspect tissue in their own mouths (self-discovery) and then self-refer themselves to a professional for evaluation of what they have discovered when it persists for over two weeks. “Check Your Mouth™” is an OCF campaign that intends to teach personal advocacy, and direct engagement over one’s oral health as it relates to oral cancer. The objectives are simple: with the cooperation of dental professionals who urge patients to visit the Check Your Mouth™ website to learn the self-screening skills through a short video, those people can now conduct their own oral cancer screenings every month between dental visits. Self-discovery as an idea in the realm of cancer is not new. The use of self-examination in both melanoma, and in the world of breast cancer have had positive impact on early discovery and referral for both diseases. The same can be true for oral cancers if enough people will become engaged in the idea. Check Your Mouth.org is an interactive website that will take the viewer step-by-step teaching them how to perform an oral screening on themselves. The website provides not only the knowledge on how to perform the screening, but shows them the two simple tools they need to do this easily. One of the important components of the idea is the use of a lit tongue blade/depressor that makes visualization of the interior of the mouth all the way into the oropharynx easy. Manufactured by Throat Scope™ in Australia who has become a partner to the foundation in this effort, it is an inexpensive and highly effective device. The light and an accompanying hand mirror make the process of self-examination easy, and they may be obtained in the OCF webstore:
Please visit CheckYourMouth.org to learn more about oral cancer and how to execute your own screenings.
What is the actual risk of an oral HPV infection?
Increased cases of human papillomavirus (HPV) related oropharyngeal cancer have prompted interest in identifying (through screenings) healthy individuals who might be at a high risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer. While that is still an elusive task as it does not produce precancerous visible signs, and even early disease is difficult to catch, the chances of getting OPSCC when you consider the total general population are still not high. Existing oral hpv tests are not helpful and do not provide actionable information. Of course those of us at OCF and in the world of dealing with this disease still view its increases every year with alarm and concern. This scientific article published by Annals of Oncology concludes that when viewed from a national population perspective, even if we had an effective and affordable test for the hundreds of millions that could be tested for oncogenic oral HPV that was not just transitory, only a very small number would later develop a related oropharyngeal cancer. OCF wanted to put hard metrics on this discussion, as the general press, given the sexual transmission mechanism of transfer, they often speak of it in alarmist terms and articles. After all, sex sells magazines and news. This in no way means that we do not consider it a dangerous situation, nor will we cease to fund research that allows us to stem the incidence, and see fewer people suffer from it entering their lives. Clearly with the well-established vaccination available to the next generation, we will make progress against HPV origin disease in time. But today we are still looking for a therapeutic vaccine to assist the immune system in clearing those infected. As to oral testing the general population today for what will mostly amount to transient infections, the data shows that without that producing some indication of what might happen in the many years, even decades till it produces a cancer, they are not useful. Funding for this research was provided by The Oral Cancer Foundation, which could not have happened without our generous donors. Thank you to those who have, and continue, to help OCF fund medical discovery.
Marie Claire Publisher Nancy Berger and Auction House CharityBuzz Partner with OCF
Influential Magazine Publisher and Charity Buzz Join with OCF The Oral Cancer Foundation has partnered with CharityBuzz and Vice President/Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer of Marie Claire magazine, Nancy Berger to benefit OCF and the oral cancer cause. Nancy has generously offered to participate in an auction conducted by CharityBuzz- the well-known seller of experiences. Proceeds will be donated to The Oral Cancer Foundation. The auction will be for a breakfast or lunch for two with Ms. Berger. After the meal, the winners will then take a tour of the famous fashion closet, a walk-through of the design process in the art department and color room, get an inside peek at celeb editors in action, and leave with a fabulous goodie bag full of beauty and grooming products for the winner and their guest! The winner(s) will experience how a national magazine comes to life each month. As a distinguished leader in the extremely competitive Publishing Industry, Nancy Berger was named Publisher of the Year in 2012 by Ad Age and Marie Claire, Magazine of the Year on their annual “A” List. Additionally in 2015, Nancy was named A Top Woman in Media by FOLIO Magazine. This past year, Marie Claire was named one of the 30 Hottest Launches in the Last 30 Years by the Media Industry Newsletter. Berger has led the brand to new innovative developments, including Marie Claire @Work, the Marie Claire Fall Fashion, A to Z iPad app, and the revolutionary ad unit, the Marie Claire Cling. When highly visible individuals partner with OCF to lend their name to the oral cancer cause, it equals CHANGE! The auction is happening now through December 7, 2017.
DeadBeat with special guest Mark Karan Charity Gig
On Saturday January 6, 2018 Deadbeat, a Massachusetts based band known for bringing the legendary Grateful Dead back to fans, will be holding a fundraising concert for the Oral Cancer Foundation. The event will be donating $5,000 in addition to $5 of every ticket sold, to The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF).
The concert will have special guest Mark Karan-best known for stepping in as lead guitarist for The Other Ones after the passing of Jerry Garcia, as well as his long run with RatDog.
Joe Pulatino, drummer for Deadbeat, and Mark Karan not only share a love of the Grateful Dead, but a common diagnosis and ultimately the survival of oral cancer. After having defeated the disease, they have worked together on multiple projects for the common cause. This will be the third charity event conducted by Deadbeat and Mark Karan for The Oral Cancer Foundation
- Location: Bull Run Restaurant- 215 Great Rd, Shirley, MA.
- When: January 6, 2018
- Time: Doors open- 6pm/Show begins- 8pm
- *Open to all ages
- Tickets here