Leading expert in head and neck cancer to present at School of Medicine

A gift from Delta Dental of Virginia funds the annual Delta Dental Oral Health Lecture.

A gift from Delta Dental of Virginia funds the annual Delta Dental Oral Health Lecture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Carole Fakhry, an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will deliver a keynote address as part of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Oral Health Week.

Her visit, the fifth annual Delta Dental of Virginia Oral Health Lecture, is made possible through a gift by Delta Dental of Virginia.

Fakhry’s presentation, “The Increasing Importance of Human Papillomavirus in Head and Neck Cancer,” will be held Jan. 6, 2016 at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine at 2 Riverside Circle in Roanoke. A 5:30 p.m. reception in the school’s atrium will precede the 6:30 p.m. lecture.

In addition to her public address, Fakhry will also share case presentations in oral pharyngeal cancer treatments to students and will visit with patients at Carilion Clinic’s hospital-based dentistry program.

Fakhry earned her medical degree at Johns Hopkins, where she also completed her internship, residency, and fellowship. As part of her research, she explores the natural history of human papillomavirus. She is particularly interested in the development of innovative mechanisms for the screening and early discovery of oral cancers.

One of Fakhry’s current projects seeks to identify which cancer patients are at risk for extracapsular—or outside the tumor—spread of the virus. This information may help determine which patients will benefit from surgery and which from chemoradiation therapies.

Fakhry’s topic is important to health, as human papillomavirus is one of the most significant infectious causes of cancer. Several decades ago, the virus was recognized as a cause of cervical cancer. Since then, the virus has been detected in other parts of the body, including the larynx and the tonsils. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of cancers appearing on the tonsil or the base of the tongue has increased four- to fivefold in the past decade, an increase directly attributed to human papillomavirus infection.

“We’re looking forward to learning from Dr. Fakhry the latest research on this sometimes deadly virus,” said Cynda Johnson, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “We’re also grateful for the generous support of Delta Dental of Virginia, which has enabled us to develop, implement, and sustain such a unique oral health curriculum not just for our students, but for the public as well.” Since launching the program, the school has woven oral health components into other parts of its medical education program.

“Our curriculum has received national and even international recognition as a model,” Johnson said, “with inquiries from as far away as Australia.”

Fakhry’s lecture is free and open to the public. Ample parking is available adjacent to the building. For more information or special accommodations, email Lynne Pearo or call her at 540-526-2300.

Written by Catherine Doss

Dr. Carole Fakhry is an assistant professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery and an assistant professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.