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HPV, Other Risk Factors Tied to Oral Cancer: New Web Site Offers Awareness, Early Detection Information

DALLAS, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fight Oral Cancer Foundation (FOCF) has launched to increase public awareness of oral cancer.

According to The Fight Oral Cancer Foundation (FOCF), oral cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, with the latest medical research linking it to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Other risk factors include alcohol and tobacco use, male gender, 40-plus years of age and sun exposure. Many studies report a 30-fold increased risk among individuals who smoke or drink heavily.

With 35,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year, only 59 percent are expected to survive longer than 5 years.

Included in the staggering amount of people affected by oral cancer are well-known celebrities such as Rod Stewart, Aaron Spelling, Diane Von Furstenburg and Peter Tork, drummer for the 1960s hit band, The Monkees.

Despite the deadly nature of this disease, the American public remains generally unaware of the risk factors and the critical importance of early detection.

"Today, one person, every hour of every day dies from oral cancer," says Arma Shahidi-Fitzgerald, FOCF founder and president. Fitzgerald explains that awareness, research and funding are the keys to increasing survival rates.

Fitzgerald, who was crowned Mrs. International 2009 earlier this month, was inspired to launch the foundation after losing a dear friend to the disease.

"She was diagnosed too late to be treated," Fitzgerald explains. "What made this loss more painful was that early detection could have saved her life."

As a result, Fitzgerald is centering her life's work on oral cancer prevention and education. Fitzgerald believes the new web site is a "step on a lifelong journey."

Fitzgerald has also begun speaking at public events and is working on relationship-building with the American Cancer Society and other cancer awareness and support organizations.

In addition to learning more about the foundation and disease, the Web site also allows viewers to donate to the foundation, offers suggestions on how to get involved with the cause and includes an interactive blog with the latest news on oral cancer.

For more information, log on to You can also follow @fightoralcancer on Twitter and become a fan of the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation on Facebook.

SOURCE Fight Oral Cancer Foundation
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