UK gets $1 million grant to help improve oral health in eastern KY

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry has received a $1 million grant to reduce oral cancer and improve oral health in eastern Kentucky.

The United Health Foundation awarded the grant to the college to launch its “Eradicate Oral Cancer in Eastern Kentucky” project.

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The grant was awarded to address the high prevalence of oral cancer in Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties in eastern Kentucky, as well as the lack of access to local health care providers who specialize in oral cancer treatment.

The college says the three-year project will raise public awareness of the symptoms of oral cancer and its links to heavy alcohol and tobacco use, provide approximately 1,000 oral cancer screenings at local health departments, and help connect patients who need additional care to cancer specialists in Lexington.

Kentucky has one of nation’s highest incidences of oral cancer, according to the National Institute of Health, and the prevalence of oral cancer in the targeted counties is as much as 54 percent higher than the state average.