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University at Buffalo and Roswell Park create dental residency program on cancer patient care

Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo in July will start a new general-practice dental residency program for dental school graduates who want training in the care of cancer patients.

The one-year program recently received accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the organizations announced Wednesday. Students in the joint program will rotate between the UB Dental and Roswell Park Dental Services.

The program is designed to give two residents at a time instruction in the dental treatment of patients with head and neck cancers, as well as patients who are undergoing cancer therapies or are in remission. Residents also will have the opportunity to participate in research projects involving the early detection of oral cancer in high-risk patients.

UB faculty will oversee the residents’ academic and clinical training. Residents at Roswell Park will spend about 70 percent of their time caring for patients under the supervision of academic and practicing dentists specializing in oncology, and the rest of the time in the classroom.

Cancer patients have unique dental needs, and many cancer therapies cause side effects to oral tissues or can decrease a patient’s ability to fight infection, including dental infections, officials said.

“The residency program provides the opportunity to obtain advanced knowledge and expertise in providing dental care to patients before, during and after treatment for cancer,” said Dr. Moni Abraham Kuriakose, vice chair of the department of Head & Neck Surgery/Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Roswell Park.

“We believe the UB-Roswell Park collaborative program will allow dental residents the opportunity to learn from experts both at UB and Roswell in the comprehensive care of patients who are battling the effects of cancer,” Dr. Heidi C. Crow, chairman of the UB department of oral diagnostic sciences, said in a statement.