Focus on the AGD Foundation: What You Need to Know about Oral Cancer

Dr. Azadeh Khajavi is an award-winning dentist based in Oregon since 1994. As a distinguished fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Azadeh Khajavi has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to advancing the quality and accessibility of oral health care throughout her professional career.

As the subsidiary charity of the Academy of General Dentistry, the AGD Foundation is likewise dedicated to informing the public about oral health care and sponsoring care for individuals living in underserved communities. This past year, the AGD Foundation announced a sweeping five-year initiative focusing on oral cancer, one of the most overlooked health conditions in dentistry.

As the sixth most common cancer in the country, oral cancer accounts for more than 85 percent all cancers found in the head and neck. The mortality rate of oral cancer has remained higher than most other cancers for the past several decades, and the disease claims approximately 8,000 lives every year. Coupled with cancer cases in the oropharynx (the portion of throat behind the mouth), this number nearly doubles to 15,000 deaths per year.

Unfortunately, many lives are lost not because oral cancer is more difficult to diagnose or treat, but because it is easily confused with less serious conditions such as a sore throat and persistent cough and is only identified in its late stages. Recognizing that high-quality dental care and regular exams are the first line of defense, the AGD Foundation is following its commitment to oral cancer prevention by sponsoring free screenings and oral health clinics from June 19 to 20, 2015, at the upcoming AGD Annual Meeting in San Francisco.