With aim of early detection, students screen for oral cancer

Published 04.14.2022

Nursing & Health Sciences
Dental Hygiene
Student News
Faculty & Staff

Dental hygiene students Erica N. Wenrich, of Enola, and Lacey Decker, of Emporium, check for signs of oral cancer.The caring work of student Faith M. Matthews, of King of Prussia, gets a thumbs-up.Wenrich (left) and Decker join screening client Shannon L. Skaluba, student organization specialist, on the Bush Campus Center patio.Matthews, joined by classmate Ninoshka Rivera Matos, of Lebanon, employs Velscope technology to help identify abnormal tissues in the mouth.On April 7, Penn College’s second-year dental hygiene students led by Bridget E. Motel, instructor of dental hygiene, and Grace G. Hicks, clinical director of dental hygiene provided 39 oral cancer screenings for members of the college community.

The screenings, offered on campus during Oral Cancer Awareness Month, are done to identify mouth cancer early, before there are symptoms.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 54,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2022. For more than a decade, there has been an annual increase in the rate of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

“While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 145 new individuals each day in the U.S. alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day,” the foundation states.
Photos by Bridget E. Motel