About a year ago, my brother was diagnosed with oral cancer. Two surgeries and a round of chemo and radiation, he’s seemingly cancer free but the journey was far from easy. While he didn’t lose his hair from chemo, I am sure he would have welcomed that side effect over the harsh impact that radiation had on his body. With oral cancer, radiation gradually burns your mouth, tongue and throat to the point of not being able to eat or drink without severe pain. Losing weight is definitely a side effect, but losing weight to the point of needing a feeding tube - as many patients experience - is not a good thing.So, I know you might be thinking “I don’t smoke or use tobacco so oral cancer won’t affect me.” That’s only one cause of the cancer. In fact, when it comes to oral cancer everyone is at risk. There is an increasing number of tongue and tonsil cancers caused by the Human Papillomavirus (or HPV). And 30% of patients, like my brother,  have no risk factors at all.What can you do? Make sure you have an annual oral cancer screening at your dentist’s office. Know your HPV status and that of your partner. And if you have young kids, make sure they get the Guardasil vaccine at their pediatricians office. Boys included.In the meantime, the point of this post, and those that follow is to raise funds for Dr. Robert Ferris’ (who happens to also be my brother’s doctor) Tumor Microenvironment and Virus Program. The research that his team will do impacts those already exposed to HPV and all who are at risk for head, neck and oral cancers.This research program will develop preventive and therapeutic options for patients.I’m asking each of you to donate just $10 to the fund. I’m hoping to raise $10,000 during this football season to support the research. At this point, it won’t help my brother, but maybe it can help someone in your family. While the research team is at the University of Pittsburgh, the findings of their research will be used nationwide (and globally).Please be sure to designate your donation to the Tumor Microenvironment and Virus Program.And please share with others. This is really important research and a cancer that doesn’t yet get the visibility it deserves.Thanks!I’ll be using the hashtag #10for10k. ************************************************************************UPDATE: Specific Giving "How to"Please visit: http://www.upci.upmc.edu/giving/Choose UPCI Cancer researchFill in your name/contactthen continue/nextOn this page, write in "other" with Tumor Microenvironment & Virus Program" to make sure the funds go to Dr. Ferris' research team specifically focused on oral cancer!Thanks!