Smiles for Survivors Foundation Success Story: Raven Burroughs, Breast Cancer Survivor

Smiles for Survivors Foundation™ announces that Raven Burroughs, 33, of Las Vegas is the inaugural recipient of its Make Her Smile program’s services.
By: Sara Talesfore
Smiles for Survivors Foundation
Smiles for Survivors Foundation
Sept. 13, 2011 - PRLog -- LAS VEGAS — Smiles for Survivors Foundation™, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of cancer treatment’s impact on oral health, providing necessary dental care for breast cancer patients and survivors, and offering breast cancer education, announces that Raven Burroughs, 33, of Las Vegas is the inaugural recipient of its Make Her Smile program’s services.

Burroughs was diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer at the age of 30 and developed severe oral health complications following her radiation treatments. They included her teeth breaking off at the gum line and turning sponge-like. Burroughs was unemployed at the time of her radiation treatment and her cancer treatments had exhausted her financial resources. She was nominated for the program by a co-worker at a job she started in early 2011.

“When we read Raven’s story, we had to help her,” says Dr. Olya Banchik, a Las Vegas-based dentist who is also the founder of Smiles for Survivors Foundation. Patients with oral complications can apply for a treatment on the Smiles for Survivors website, or can be nominated by someone else. Patients are selected for treatment on based on need.

Burroughs received two visits with Dr. Banchik as well as Las Vegas-based oral surgeon Dr. Mark Degen at Red Rock Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Centre. The dentists were able to restore her mouth to healthy state.

Up to 40 percent of all patients receiving cancer chemotherapy develop oral complications.[1] Age, how nutritiously patients ate, the type of cancer and how the patient cares for their teeth before and during radiation and chemotherapy treatments affect the potential for oral complications.

“Radiation and chemotherapy treatments to the neck and head region can cause painful mouth and gums; dry mouth; burning, peeling or swelling tongue; infection; and a change in taste. All contribute to dehydration, malnutrition and sores in the mouth,” explains Dr. Banchik. “Reaching out to a dentist before radiation and chemotherapy treatments can prevent these problems or can be treated while receiving cancer therapy.”

According to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

Burroughs was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after losing her mother to ovarian cancer and having her young son diagnosed with Asperberger’s syndrome. Last May, she underwent reconstructive surgery to replace her left breast, and she has another surgery planned in December to build up her right breast. “I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I’d be a cancer survivor or have dentures at age 33, but I am,” says Burroughs, who now leads a pain-free life.  “Thank you Dr. Banchik and Smiles for Survivors Foundation,” she says.

About Smiles for Survivors
The Smiles for Survivors Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3 whose mission is to support breast cancer patients and survivors by providing necessary dental care to restore the patient’s mouth back to a healthy state and raising awareness of cancer treatment's impact on oral health. Through a vetting process, Smiles for Survivors Foundation selects qualified breast cancer patients and survivors to participate in the Make Her Smile program, which provides necessary dental procedures to improve oral health. The Smiles for Survivors Foundation was established in 2009 by Dr. Olya Banchik, a Las Vegas based dentist whose own life was personally touched by the disease and whose mission it is to support the fight against this disease. More information on Smiles for Survivors Foundation can be found at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

[1] Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
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Tags:Smiles For Survivors Foundation, Smiles For Survivors, Non-profit, Las Vegas, Breast Cancer, Oral Health, Chemotherapy
Industry:Health, Non-profit, Research
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 14, 2011
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