Friendly Competition among Area Dental Schools to Educate about Oral Cancer

Contact: Jackie Rubin, 617/638-4892 |

(Boston) – Mention cancer and most people think breast, lung, or prostate. But the less talked about oral cancer kills nearly half of all people diagnosed with the disease in five years, largely because patients do not recognize the symptoms.

That statistic got Courtney Brady, a second-year dental student at Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine (BUGSDM), and first-year student Dee Gulis thinking about what they could do to get the word out about oral cancer, and they think they found the answer.

Brady and Gulis are leading a team BUGSDM students, faculty, staff, and friends to walk Relay for Life, a 12-hour walk/run event at Boston University Track and Tennis Center from 6 p.m. April 18 to 6 a.m. April 19.

“Too often, oral cancer is pushed off to the side when people talk about cancer,” Brady says. “We want to make sure people know that oral cancer can be deadly and that they know the symptoms. It is a disease people need to watch out for.”

Brady has invited all other dental schools in the Northeast district 1 of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) to join BUGSDM. Now BUGSDM, Tufts, Harvard, and UConn are vying to recruit the most team members.

“While raising money is important, our goal for this first year is seeing a lot of participation from our school,” Brady says. “We want everybody to get involved and see how great this event is and for it to grow into a huge event for BUGSDM each year to come.”

The BUGSDM team is adding a unique twist to the event—an oral cancer education booth—which, to Brady and Gulis’ knowledge, is the first of its kind at any Relay for Life event nationwide. Walkers from the 100 teams planning to attend Relay for Life can learn about oral cancer between laps around the track.

When not walking, participants will fill their time listening to local bands perform, playing football inside the track lanes, camping out with friends and classmates, and visiting other teams’ booths to learn about the causes they support.

You do not need to be athletic to join, according to Gulis. “If you can walk, you can participate,” she says.

Brady adds that in addition to supporting oral cancer awareness, attending Relay for Life is a great way to kick off Marathon Monday, which follows the next day on April 20.

Anyone can support BUGSDM’s Relay for Life team or join for just a $10 registration fee with no obligation to raise more money. To learn more, visit or email Courtney Brady or Dee Gulis at

The mission of Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine is to provide excellent education to dental professionals throughout their careers; to shape the future of dental medicine and dental education through research; to offer excellent health care services to the community; to participate in community activities; and to foster a respectful and supportive environment.