April 12, 2007
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Will Hold Free Oral Cancer Screenings in North and South Jersey
Essex County Cancer Health Fair will be held
at UMDNJ in Newark on April 26
NEWARK — Visits to the dentist may save lives. Unfortunately, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. As part of a regional awareness campaign, painless oral health examinations will be conducted by dental professionals during an annual Free Oral Cancer Screening at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School will host the screenings on Thurs., April 26, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School, 50 Twelfth Ave., Newark, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at University Dental Center at Somerdale Square, 13 Somerdale Square in Somerdale.
As a member of the Oral Cancer Consortium, the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School is holding this screening as a free service for all adults. “Since survival rates are directly related to early detection, one of the goals of the Consortium is to raise public awareness of the importance of regular oral check-ups in order to improve the cure rate,” said Dr. Cecile Feldman, dean of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School. “Oral cancer, like other cancers, is treatable and the cure rate is high when detected early.”
Appointments are not necessary and the screening takes less than 15 minutes to complete. Men and women will receive a comprehensive oral exam and a biopsy, if needed. Oral cancer is generally painless in the early stage and may not be noticeable. Early lesions may appear as subtle alterations in the color of the mouth’s lining. A free tube of tooth paste and a toothbrush will be offered to each participant.
Major risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco, including chewing tobacco, and alcohol use. Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with oral cancer. While the five-year survival rate for white men is 50 percent, the rate for black men is only 31 percent.
“Oral cancer morbidity rates are higher nationwide than either melanoma or cervical cancer,” said Dr. Arnold Rosenheck, assistant dean of Hospital Affairs and Institutional Development at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School. “Research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows survival rates are as high as 80 percent when detected early compared with 17 percent or less when the disease is detected in the later stages.”
In addition to the free oral cancer screening, a cancer health fair will be held on the Newark campus. The Essex County Cancer Coalition will host the Essex County Cancer Health Fair to educate, introduce local cancer resources, and raise awareness related to the prevention and early detection and screening of various types of cancers including breast, colorectal, oral, cervical, and prostate. Representatives from the Essex County Cancer Coalition/New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (CEED) program will provide referrals for upcoming breast, colorectal, cervical and prostate screenings.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.