LSU Grant to Help Improve Oral Cancer Survival

Dr. Kitrina Cordell, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, has been awarded a $5,000 grant by the Academy of General Dentistry to develop a school-wide program to teach patients about self oral cancer screening.

“Although the mouth is one of the most readily accessible areas for people to evaluate on their own, the majority of patients are not familiar with signs and symptoms associated with precancerous changes and oral cancers,” notes Dr. Cordell. “Early detection is a critical component in improving survival rates.”

The program will consist of one-on-one educational sessions for patients with trained oral health care professionals – faculty, residents and students – to include an explanation and demonstration of an oral cancer screening, a printed brochure and information about what to do when something unusual is found. This type of education will allow patients to continue to monitor their own mouths even if they do not regularly seek the care of a dental professional.

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 90% of oral and oropharyngeal malignancies and represents 3% of all cancers in males and 2% of all cancers in females in the US. African-American men and women have significantly lower oral cancer survival rates.