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Home 9 Articles 9 OLFU partners with Hong Kong University and Philippine Dental Association in raising Oral Cancer Awareness
OLFU partners with Hong Kong University and Philippine Dental Association in raising Oral Cancer Awareness
OLFU partners with Hong Kong University and Philippine Dental Association in raising Oral Cancer Awareness

By: Chelsea Mayuga

05/05/2023

By: Chelsea Mayuga

05/05/2023

Oral cancer is a serious condition that affects the mouth and throat, and although it is relatively rare, it is important to be aware of its symptoms and risk factors for early detection and proper & effective medical intervention. This is why the College of Dentistry (COD) of Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU), in partnership with Hong Kong University and the Philippine Dental Association (PDA), hosted the 1st CAMANAVA Dental Summit on Oral Cancer Awareness entitled: “Early Detection, Management and Prevention of a Global Health Threat”.

Held on 28 April 2023 at the OLFU RISE Tower in Valenzuela, dental health professionals and advocates converged and filled the house for the said Summit to discuss topics that involve the background, diagnosis, and treatment of oral cancer. Personally present to welcome the delegates was University President, and a cancer survivor herself, Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez who keenly shared the significance of early detection when it comes to any type of cancer, and how much of a difference it makes to learn about such diseases straight from the experts versus merely acquiring information about it from the internet.

PDA President, Dr. Cheryl Del Rosario, also delivered a message where she highlighted the timeliness of the Summit given that the PDA recently institutionalized the month of April as the National Oral Cancer Month—making it “an annual observation that underscores the fact that early detection of oral cancer can decrease morbidity and increase long-term survival”. Dr. Del Rosario also emphasized that dental professionals play important roles in tackling oral cancer being the ones who have the ability to educate patients and the public about its major contributing factors as well as the management and rehabilitation of this disease.

OLFU College of Dentistry Dean, Dr. Arturo De Leon presented the action plans of the Summit which included: acknowledging oral cancer as a global health threat, having a conscious effort to include oral cancer assessment in every dental patient’s general screening, and putting up an online community where people can share best practices on oral cancer awareness and prevention. Dr. De Leon also led the launching of the Oral Cancer Awareness Ribbon and Commitment Signing of Oral Awareness Champions which was supported by Dr. Enriquez and Dr. Del Rosario as well.

Coming in as the first speaker of the conference is Dr. Ida Balanag who discussed the histopathology, classification, and staging of oral cancer. In her lecture she stated that oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the world, and that more than 90% of these are squamous cell carcinoma–“a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin”. Dr. Balanag also talked about the principles of specimen collection and establishment of histopathologic diagnosis. The different classifications of oral cancer were also outlined including its part in identifying the best treatment option for a patient.

Following Dr. Balanag is Dr. Gary Brillo, whose lecture revolved around oral lesions—these are known to be “mouth ulcers or sores, which may be painful. They can include abnormal cell growth and rare tongue and hard-palate (roof of mouth) disorders”. Dr. Brillo showed methods of achieving proper identification of oral cancer which can be done through conducting case history taking, imaging, and diagnostic testing. He also shared the impact of early spotting of lesions and calibrated the attendees in recognizing different pathologic conditions in the oral cavity. He also elaborated on an efficient approach in determining an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that align with the biological and functional needs of a patient. Additionally, he covered the latest diagnostic technologies that assist in recognizing oral cancer.

The third lecture of the convention was conducted by Dr. Joven Javier who went over the ins and outs of dental management of oral cancer patients. He touched on the common signs and symptoms of the disease; the 5 S’s (common causes) of Oral Cancer namely, smoking, syphilis, sharp tooth, spices, and spirits; pre-operative evaluations such as imaging (CT Scan, Cone Beam Computed Tomography, and MRI), and biopsy (incision and excision); health management and remedial strategies including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and chemo drugs for cancer; and possible oral complications. Dr. Javier also mentioned surgical management of oral cancer like tumor resection, mohs micrographic lip surgery for cancer, and glossectomy.

Completing the set of esteemed guest speakers is Dr. Richard Yuxiong Su who tackled “Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on oral cancer risk prediction” through a video recording and presentation played in the event. His presentation hashed out the possibilities and opportunities that AI technology can offer to assist in the early detection and diagnosis of oral cancer. These AI-based systems can also potentially lead to earlier interventions and improved patient outcomes.

An open forum with the delegates was held after the lectures, providing a pathway for an enriching exchange of thoughts and insights that aided in equipping the dental practitioners present at the event with ample knowledge in diagnosing, managing, and ultimately treating oral cancer.

In conclusion, oral cancer is a grave condition with devastating consequences if not detected and treated early. Through this Summit, oral healthcare professionals have been made more aware of the signs and antecedents of oral cancer as well as the best way to handle this disease—making it a huge step towards creating a community that’s healthier, safer, and with brighter smiles.