VCU Student National Dental Association hosts its Oral Cancer Walk annually to raise awareness for oral cancer. Funds generated from the walk are donated to VCU Philips Institute of Oral Health Research. The Philips Institue of Oral Health Research has been the major focus of oral and dental research in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
Approximately 42,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. This is the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year. There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. Be a part of the solution.