Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH, a leading dental hygiene key opinion leader known for her tireless advocacy for the early detection of oral cancer is broadening her efforts to include other forms of cancer with the formation of the National Cancer Network, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
According to Zafiropoulos, commonly known as “Debbie Z”, “Dental professionals are the early warning system of the healthcare profession because we see our patients on an average of once a year and they spend a lot of time in our chairs. In addition to conducting a thorough oral exam, we can be paying closer attention to any abnormalities we notice on the patient’s skin or any complaints described in their patient history form such as persistent sore throat, cough, zone tingling or tenderness, etc.”
When something suspicious is discovered, Zafiropoulos says it is the responsibility of all dental professionals to integrate with other allied health professionals and make the appropriate qualified referrals sooner rather than later. “By taking the initiative to break down the silos between the various health care disciplines, we can significantly reduce the mortality rates of a wide variety of cancers.
Two of the cornerstones of the National Cancer Network are consumer awareness and professional training in the form of live patient screening events and professional training courses throughout the country.
What’s more, at the heart of NCN’s consumer and clinician awareness campaign is the introduction of a new exam protocol called “Screening for Oral and Skin Abnormalities” or SOSA™.
The first event of this type is being held in conjunction with the First District Dental Hygiene Society component of the Tennessee Dental Hygiene Association on September 16th in Kingsport, TN. The event will be based around one of Debbie Z’s most popular lectures, “HPV: It’s Not the Hanky-Panky Virus the Media Says it Is”.
To learn more about this and other upcoming NCN events, visit http://nationalcancernetwork.org/hpv/. For more information on how you or your organization can support NCN, contact Debra Zafiropoulos at DebbieZ@NationalCancerNetwork.org. Individual and corporate donations are can be made via PayPal at http://nationalcancernetwork.org/donate/