This will be the culminating event of an entire month of activities observing Oral Health Month 2016. Last year, the event raised awareness of oral cancer and made the organization one step closer our goal, an Oral Surgery Suite building at the College of Oral Health Sciences.
Oral cancer is often referred to as the “silent killer” because there is usually no other symptoms. Sixty-six percent of people are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to stage III or IV and approximately half of those victims die within 5 years. While all other cancer rates are on the decline, the incidence of oral cancer is rapidly increasing. Early detection significantly reduces the chances of death, which is why creating awareness about detection and prevention is important.
Currently, the only treatment centre treating more than 90% of patients inflicted with oral cancer in Jamaica is located at Kingston Public Hospital Oral and Maxillofacial Clinic. The waitlist for patients with this disease spans over one year as the facility cannot accommodate the volume of patients needing treatment for benign or malignant neoplasms. As a result, most patients end up dying or disease progression to end-stage due to the long waitlist times. Inevitably leading to decreased quality of life and pain and suffering. In addition, staff at KPH are so swamped with the overwhelmingly amount of patients that no thorough research has been conducted in this field.