Eradicate Oral Cancer in Eastern Kentucky

  • Stone, Daria (PI)
  • Stein, Pamela (CoI)
  • Kyrkanides, Stephanos (Former PI)
  • Yeoh, Melvyn (Former PI)
  • Brouxhon, Sabine (Former CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Eradicate oral cancer in eastern Kentucky is a comprehensive, vertically-integrated project encompassing public awareness and education, cancer screening, oncology treatment (surgical, radiation, and chemotherapy), and follow up patient care. Our oral cancer program operates out of the College of Dentistry (UKCD) at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY and serves patients throughout the commonwealth, although a significant portion of our patients come from eastern Kentucky. In his leadership role, Dean Stephanos Kyrkanides has personally spearheaded the initiative to eradicate oral cancer in Kentucky through innovation, by establishing novel, effective, and efficient integrated patient care programs. The oral cancer program began in 2015 soon after Dean Kyrkanides arrival at University of Kentucky with the recruitment of team members such as Melvyn Yeoh, MD, DMD, assistant professor of oral surgery. To better serve the oral health needs of Kentucky, UKCD identified Harlan, Pike, and Letcher Counties as an area with high prevalence of oral cancer in the state. Harlan ranked fifth in the state in the number of oral cancer cases. This project will increase public awareness, among area residents, of the prevalence and symptoms of oral cancer and the need for annual screenings. This region of the state is riddled with a significant level of poverty, so many residents receive healthcare at the local health department. Therefore, we propose to perform screenings at the health departments. Patients who test positive for oral cancer will be offered a full consultation by the UKCD expert clinicians and provided appropriate care as needed in our state-of-the-art facilities in Lexington, KY. We believe our unique comprehensive outreach and care program will significantly improve health in one of the most affected areas in the nation for oral cancer. This project will further enhance relationships within Harlan, Pike, and Letcher counties and thus impact future efforts to improve oral health in eastern Kentucky. All activities will be evaluated for effectiveness to incorporate successful approaches in future oral health efforts. Project Goals ~ To increase awareness of the prevalence of oral cancer and the need for annual screenings, along with the link of heavy tobacco/alcohol use with increased risk for oral cancer. ~ To build relationships with reginal and community-based organizations who can work with UKCD both in regards to this project and the future to facilitate oral cancer screening, address health risks and behaviors that impact oral health, and improve access to care in Eastern Kentucky. ~ To identify individuals in Harlan, Letcher and Pike Counties in Eastern KY with oral cancers at an early stage. ~ To make quality health care for treatment and follow-up of oral cancer available to those who may not have access to local healthcare providers specializing in oral cancer treatment.
Effective start/end date8/1/186/15/24


  • United Health Foundation: $1,017,936.00


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