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The Oral Cancer Foundation Issues First Research Grants
Date:11/20/2007

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Oral Cancer Foundation announced today that three researchers working in areas of early oral cancer detection would be the foundation's first grant recipients.

The grants, which were made as an ongoing commitment to each researcher, were awarded to Dr. Maura Gillison of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. David Wong of the University of California at Los Angeles, and Dr. Ann Gillenwater of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"We are supporting research that moves our early discovery agenda forward," the foundation's executive director Brian Hill said. "Early detection is our first front in reducing the death rate from oral cancer, and we believe these research programs all will have a huge impact on how and when people are diagnosed with the disease. Early detection and staging is directly correlated to better long-term outcomes for patients."

The disease affects more than 34,000 Americans each year, and more than 8,000 will die from it annually. At the present time two-thirds of cases are caught in the cancer's later stages when prognosis is poor. At 5 years from diagnosis survival for all stages combined is approximately 50%. While other cancers have seen a decline in incidence and death, occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers have increased in recent years, 11% in 2007 alone.

"Public awareness of the disease is low, and screening models used incorrectly or inconsistently are largely to blame for the high death rate," Hill said. "We could be doing a better job of early discovery. Patients need to know that an annual screening is inexpensive, painless, and takes only five minutes. But the lack of awareness-in both the health care community and the public's-of the newly defined viral etiology of oral cancer is now also to blame."

Oral cancer has been most usually associated with tobacco use, often in combination with alcohol consumption. However, new resear
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SOURCE The Oral Cancer Foundation
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