The Oral Cancer Foundation is proud to announce the official launch of its North American campaign, “Check Your Mouth™”. The initiative is built around an interactive website designed to help individuals learn to self-discover suspicious tissue changes in their own mouths. “Check Your Mouth™” provides viewers with knowledge on how to detect and recognize early symptoms of disease, and obtain the tools to make this examination easy. If an abnormality persists for more than two weeks, we advise the viewer to contact a medical professional to gain further evaluation.

The Oral Cancer Foundation has engaged two key strategic partners, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), whose combined membership exceeds 200,000 dental hygienists in the U.S. and Canada. Now the foundation looks to these long-term partners in screening to introduce their patient populations to the idea of self-exams at home between professional appointments, and expose them to the “Check Your Mouth™” concept and website. By using self examination, we hope “Check Your Mouth™” when combined with regular professional screening, will produce better long-term outcomes, which is a very tangible opportunity we can capitalize on today.

“Check Your Mouth™” information cards are now available for free via the OCF store. We urge dental professionals to take advantage and join The Oral Cancer Foundation in our effort at early oral cancer discovery.

The Art of Generosity

Fundraising is critical to the Foundation’s ability to pursue its cause, and it often requires our team to come up with some pretty creative ideas. To achieve new goals, many conduct raffles and auctions. This requires a ton of work to find individuals and companies willing to donate to the oral cancer cause. While cash donations are of course always welcome, much of our fundraising comes through donated goods, services and products. The more interesting the donated items we’re raffling and auctioning off, the more money we raise. . . and the more fun we have! OCF is privileged to have several wonderful people who have been gracious enough to be annual donors, and have some very creative ways of doing so. One of the most creative of those donors is Anita F. McGinn-Natali.

Anita is a very talented fine arts painter from Pennsylvania who has been donating original oil paintings to OCF fundraisers since 2011. These works of art vary in theme, but her most unique feature beautiful landscapes that take the viewer to calm beaches and tree canopied roads. For 2018, Anita is preparing to provide nine more of her paintings to events in Dallas, TX, Washington, DC, Binghamton, NY, Succasunna, NJ, San Antonio, TX, Fountain Valley, CA, St Michaels, MD, and Seattle, WA.  

Anita first learned of OCF after her husband, Clark, was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2007. Acting as her husband’s caregiver during his treatment and recovery, she discovered OCF and began to participate in our online forum. She found great solace in both the information on the website and the supportive OCF community. Realizing the importance of fundraising to the Foundation’s objectives, Anita decided to donate framed and ready-to-hang oil paintings for auction at OCF events. Anita’s beautiful art is always a big hit at all of our events, and they has raised thousands of dollars for OCF to devote to oral cancer research funding efforts.

We could not be more honored to have Anita F. McGinn-Natali as a partner in our fight against oral cancer. To view her work, visit her website:

10-Year Study Documents the Long-Term Effectiveness of the HPV Vaccine

A 10-year study by Augusta University has concluded that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine is safe and effective in preventing HPV infections. While several other studies have documented the short-term efficacy of the HPV vaccine since it has been available in North America and the U.K., this study is the first to document the vaccine’s long-term benefits.

According to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are estimated to be approximately 200 strains of HPV, nine of which cause cancers of the throat, neck, head, penis, and cervix. To combat the risk of HPV, many health experts and organizations, including the Oral Cancer Foundation, have advocated making the HPV vaccine available to children ages 9-12 before they become sexually active. The vaccine has been available to this age group in the U.S. since 2006.

The August University study consisted of three rounds of injections administered to 1,661 male and female participants in 9 different countries. One group of participants received the vaccine at the beginning of the study, with the second group receiving the vaccine 30 months later. Twice a year for 7 years, all test subjects were tested for signs of HPV infection, including cancerous and pre-cancerous growths, genital warts, and other infections. While all subjects remained negative for HPV infections, members of the first group (who received the vaccine 30 months before the second group) had a higher amount of infection-fighting cells in their blood. This suggests that resistance to the virus grows more robust over time, and thus that the younger patients are when given the vaccine, the more effective the vaccine will be.

The study’s authors concluded that the vaccine protects against HPV infection and hence against cancers caused by HPV infection. In addition, the vaccine was shown to have been effective with both females and males. This long-awaited information is expected to be used in setting guidelines on how many rounds of the vaccine are required, and who should be receiving them.

The Oral Cancer Foundation has actively partnered with and funded research by the leading expert on the association between HPV and oral cancer, Dr. Maura Gillison. Dr. Gillison’s work at John Hopkins was the first to discover the association between HPV and oral cancer, and OCF is proud to have maintained this working relationship for 13 years.