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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Oral Cancer Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Health

Mission: The Oral Cancer Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 charity that works to provide information about this disease to the public and to medical and dental professionals, advocate for patients, and provide support services to them. OCF operates the world's largest real time, patient-to-survivor interactive support service via the web, and the foundation's main information web site, which contains thousands of pages of information, receives over 24 million hits per month. We are also sponsors of research, primarily in the area of detection mechanisms that facilitate the discovery of the disease at early stages when survival rates are the highest, the relationship of the HPV virus to oropharyngeal cancers, and immunotherapy treatments for oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

Results: *WINNER OF THE CANCER FIGHTERS AWARD from GNP as the BEST SMALL CANCER NON-PROFIT in AMERICA* Oral Cancer Awareness Month – April Oral Cancer awareness in the American public is low. Approximately 53,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year. Dental professionals are often the first line of defense against oral cancer, through the process of early discovery. While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. We cannot stop this very common virus from spreading; our only hope to save lives is with professional involvement and public awareness of the benefits of a preventative vaccine. This is your opportunity to get involved and give back to your community in hopes to raise oral cancer awareness and the need for early detection in order to save lives. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world of oral cancers. Please join us. Rodeo - Tobacco Outreach - "Be Smart. Don't Start.” Rodeo cowboy, Cody Kiser, and cowgirl, Carly Twisselman, have partnered with OCF to spread a simple message to the youth at rodeo competitions, “Be Smart. Don’t Start.” The foundation is a big believer that in order to solve problems, you have to become engaged where the problem lives. Kids look up to athletes, not just in rodeo, but major league baseball and elsewhere as “heroes” that they would aspire to be like. Unfortunately, no hero is ever perfect. OCF has begun to program to put alternative role models out in the world of rodeo cowboys athletes, with the intention of reaching young people before they make addictive choices that will harm them later in life. With Cody and Carly’s support, we expect to have a larger presence in the rodeo world and reach many more young people with our anti-tobacco message. Be Part of the Change: The RDH community is uniting to be part of the much needed change in reducing the historically late discovery of oral cancers. With their commitment to performing oral cancer screenings and being the first line of defense, they have the opportunity to find cancer in its early stages. Early discovery and diagnosis, yields better long-term outcomes, and lower morbidity to those who undergo treatments. In addition to screening patients they see in their daily practice, we have partnered with hygienists across the county to build screening teams to perform free oral cancer screenings in their community. A combined effort between professional engagement and public awareness is essential in order to raise awareness of this silent killer and educate the public about the importance of an annual oral cancer screening. The foundation Screens tens of thousands of individuals each April, oral cancer awareness month through our partners in the medical and dental community

Target demographics: While historically the majority of people are over the age of 40 at the time of discovery, oral cancer does occur in those under this age. It is also now confirmed that in a younger age group, including those who have never used tobacco products, have a cause which is HPV viral based. The human papilloma virus, particularly version 16, has now been shown to be sexually transmitted between partners, and is conclusively implicated in the increasing incidence of young non-smoking oral cancer patients.

Geographic areas served: USA

Programs: Research - Understanding the Implications of Human Papilloma Virus Infection - particularly HPV 16, which is now responsible for the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. For over a decade OCF has funded core science which has helped us understand this new etiology. Work that has elucidated demographics, transfer mechanisms, future trends of the infection, treatment response, adn more have been produced by our decade long collaboration with Dr. Maura Gillison and her team. Advocacy - OCF was a leader in the effort to expand the use of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer to young boys, testifying at the CDC vaccine boards over three years. With strategic partnerships formed with other organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the foundation finally achieved this goal. At the NIH, we have advocated for clinical trials in the area of head and neck cancers that our science board deemed urgent. These have included research to determine if the HPV protective cervical cancer vaccines would work as well in other HPV cancers such as HPV16+ oropharyngeal cancer, which is the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. OCF's founder Brian Hill sits on two NIH oversite committees, one on Immunotherapy in head and neck cancer at the NCI, the other on Long-term outcomes or oral cancer treatment and the NIDCR. Through these positions, we not only stay abreast of the current thinking in treatments and are able to disseminate that to our followers and the public, but we are able to influence research directions as well.

Community Stories

371 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with the ORal Cancer Foundation for about a year and a half now. I first got involved due to my brothers passing of tongue cancer, I wanted to organize a memorial walk and donate the proceeds to an organization devoted to the needs of oral cancer patients, while also creating awareness of the disease. My brother and our whole family had never heard of this disase before and once we learned that he would be here today if he knew the signs of oral cancer, Ihad to do something to help others. I could not help my brother win his battle but I could help others know the signs so they would not have to experience the extreme pain and suffering he endured. I found the OCF, talked with Brian Hill,the founder, and was totally inspired by his own battle and his dedication to spreading awareness. The survivor forum on the site is a place where oc patients/caregivers can express their concerns, give advice and just be a friend. I have never been so inspired before when I read the caring messages each member sends. Without this avenue, these people have nowhere to go. Oral cancer victims now have a place to go and know that people will listen, care and support. I wish my brother knew of the OCF while he was sick, he could have received great information and support. This organization is a beacon of hope for so many. Brian Hill is relentless in his pursuit of making people aware of this disease and supporting research programs devoted to oral cancer preventiveness. I now help the OCF in its efforts by helping others plan events to support the foundation efforts. My life was changed in an instant the day my brother was diagnosed. My life today is rewarding because I am making a difference in peoples lives. The OCF is making a difference in peoples lives - -by its programs, their research, their support, their guidance, and most of all hope.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best site in the world for Oral cancer patients, caregivers, friends and family. I was a Stage IV and went through treatment without the benefit of this site. After my treatment was over the Founder saw me post on another OC site where it could take days to get a response and invited me to join the OCF which I did. I asked a question and in 15 minutes has 6 responses. I have been a regular poster ever since as I will never let someone go through this barbaric treatment alone like I did.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Alex: How do you get guidance, reliable information and survivor and caregiver support for a cancer, which is growing in number, but some think is "infrequent"? Well Alex, the answer is The Oral Cancer Foundation. Bells, Whistles, and I win. But those with Oral Cancer have won too as they have found a place to share with those with those who have "been there" about a cancer that can have devastating effects to people's ability to eat, speak and enjoy what they can of a much shortened life. I've often said that there are far too many Oral Cancer angels walking the streets of heaven, but it wouldn't be like that if Brian Hill, the founder and an oral cancer survivor himself, had it his way. He and the staff of the Oral Cancer Foundation work tirelessly to "get the word out" with dentists, general practitioners and the general public about this deadly cancer. While the information and support forums become lifelines for us cancer patients, the REAL work of the foundation is about trying to get to the stage where no one needs those Forums. The partnership with the Paltrow family has helped OCF, but it is a long way from the goal of having the profile that Oral Cancer deserves to save lives. For me, I was first diagnosed with oral cancer in 2004 and had about 1/2 of my tongue remove - left side. I went through 32 radiation treatments and eventually even returned to work. I didn't find the Oral Cancer Foundation until after my first surgery, but I sure wish I had. The experiences and advice from those who had walked this path before me would have been invaluable. I considered myself fortunate to have at least somewhwhat recovered and I was thankful to be able to, perhaps, help someone else. Then - in the spring of 2007 - the other shoe dropped and I went through months of tests to FINALLY diagnose a recurrance. Without the support of the OCF "Family" I wouldn't be here today. They helped me try to keep my fears in check while simultaneously encouraging me - strongly - to not give up the quest for a diagnosis. Biopsy after biopsy, they supported me. After a diagnosis was finally made in September of 2007 I went through another surgery. Without information from the forum, I doubt that I would have pressed for a SECOND round of radiation - despite the general perception that you can only have radiation once. This second radiation (with some chemo) saved my life. Ergo...the forum saved my life. What can one say about the excellence and dedication of others? Just plain amazing. Check in at about 2am almost any night and you will find the founder Brian Hill online answering posts. And yes, he still has his day job! This Foundation truly deserves all the accolades it can get. Donna Butcher (Pandora99 on OCF)

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an oral cancer survivor. My story is not important, but I would like to give you an idea of what The Oral Cancer Foundation means to me and others who suffer from oral cancer, one of the cruelest cancers of all. Oral cancer is aggressive, and unforgiving, with a 50% five-year-survival rate, and a gruesome death sentence for many. For this cancer, the treatment is dreadfully barbaric. The surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, lead to permanent problems and disfigurement, in addition to being extremely painful. The treatment compromises the ability to eat, chew and swallow. Many oral cancer survivors have to relearn how to speak. Total tooth extraction and hearing loss are not uncommon, as well as depression. Taste buds are destroyed, as are salivary glands, resulting in permanent dry mouth. Frequently the thyroid gland is rendered nonfunctional. Recurrences are not uncommon, and sometimes an individual survivor experiences more than one. Approximately 34,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Compared with other cancers which are high-profile, such as breast cancer, oral cancer is poorly understood by the general population as well as the medical community. Many oral cancer survivors are misdiagnosed for months or longer, losing precious time needed to begin the fight against this very aggressive disease. Too many are not diagnosed until they are stage 3 or 4, resulting in poor prognosis. The treatment is harsh, and employs methods that have not changed appreciably in years. The treatment must be completed or the patient will die. Those who die of oral cancer suffer painful and miserable deaths which scar their caregivers and families forever. The Oral Cancer Foundation does many things. It has extensive information and current research on oral cancer included on its many web pages, and it sponsors peer-reviewed research when funding is available. OCF conducts free oral cancer screenings for the public, and educational seminars for dental professionals. I would like to focus on one important facet of the foundation: The Patient/Survivor Forum ([url=http://oralcancersupport.org/forums/]http://oralcancersupport.org/forums/[/url]). I was fortunate; I found OCF the day I was diagnosed. I have had the total support network of the forum from the beginning. The other survivors and caregivers calmed my fears, answered my questions, and gave me the emotional support that is so important in combating this horrible cancer. The OCF Forum and its caring participants have literally SAVED LIVES! I would very much appreciate you taking five minutes of your time to read one of the recent “threads” on The Patient/Survivor Forum that saved one of our own from a certain painful and tragic death. She goes by “Sone”, and is a 40-year-old, stay-at-home mom, diagnosed with stage 3 tongue cancer. She has completed extensive surgery to remove the tumor and restructure her tongue. She had 34 lymph nodes removed from her neck, one of which showed the spread of oral cancer cells. The protocol for positive cancerous lymph nodes is to irradiate the mouth and neck with or without concurrent chemotherapy. “Sone’s” radiation plan called for 33 treatments, five days a week for six and one-half weeks. The pain she experienced was excruciating and she discontinued the radiation after 14 treatments. “Sone” posted on the OCF Forum, asking to hear from others with their similar experiences of stopping the treatment. Truth is crucial on our forum and often blunt and brutal, but embraced by compassion. The following link is an unedited copy of “Sone’s” original post and subsequent replies from our OCF Family. The thread is still active, with “Sone” posting daily. As of today, July 13th, Sone has completed 25 radiation treatments with 8 remaining. Way to go Sone!!! PLEASE, PLEASE, READ THIS: ([url=http://oralcancersupport.org/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=99349&page=1]I stopped my IMRT by Sone[/url]). Catherine OCF Member and Supporter Oral Cancer Survivor!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Oral Cancer Foundation was a LIFESAVER for our family when my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma, base of tongue in 2003. The support we received through the OCF site and the OCF forum was irreplaceable!!! I truly don't know how I would have made it through the toughest year of my life without OCF...the organization ROCKS!