Most cancer patients don't know that visiting a dentist can make a difference in their cancer treatment. A new health awareness campaign from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) explains how proper oral care can prevent or minimize painful complications in the mouth that affect up to one-third of patients undergoing treatment for cancer.
Of the 1.2 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, approximately 400,000 will develop oral complications from their treatments. Many patients, dentists, and oncologists, however, are unaware of the right steps to take to prevent or manage these potentially serious problems.
Oral Health, Cancer Care and You: Fitting the Pieces Together informs health care providers and patients about what they can do to reduce the risk and impact of oral complications. Health writers are invited to attend a briefing and luncheon to launch the campaign on January 27, 1999, from 122 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
NIDCR is conducting the awareness campaign in partnership with the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Friends of the NIDCR. The goals of the campaign are to inform oncology and oral health professionals about the oral complications of cancer treatment, to encourage communication between oncology and oral health care providers, and to give patients the tools they need to be active participants in their cancer care.
We are excited about the opportunity this campaign presents to make a significant difference, not only in the oral health, but also in the overall health of patients undergoing treatment for cancer, noted NIDCR Director Dr. Harold Slavkin. Preventing and managing oral complications provide an excellent example of how dentistry and medicine can work together in partnership and the winner is the patient.
Oral complications can result from all forms of
Contact: Patricia Sheridan
NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research