The Oral Cancer Foundation is an organization that is close to my heart. My husband, Fabgrandpa, was diagnosed with Oral Cancer back in 2000. He had surgery, then radiation treatments that seemed worse than the disease. But, he has been cancer free for almost 13 years now.
The Oral Cancer Foundation is a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category.
Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. Approximately 40,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012. 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. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.
While Fabgrandpa was going through his treatment and recovery, the Oral Cancer Support Forum helped me, as his caregiver, so much. I try to give back to the organization in some way each year. I have given money, hosted an auction for The Oral Cancer Foundation on my blog, and given out stickers and buttons that encourage people to get screened for oral cancer when they visit their dentist or ENT doctor.