Oral Cancer Foundation founder named
Survivor Circle Award winner
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has named Brian Hill of
Newport Beach, Calif., as its 2010 Survivor Circle Award winner. Hill will be
recognized with a trophy and a $1,000 prize during the Awards Ceremony on
Tuesday, November 2, 2010, during ASTRO's 52nd Annual Meeting in San
Diego. He has chosen to donate the funds from the award to benefit The Oral
Cancer Foundation, the nonprofit he started a decade ago.
The Survivor Circle Award recognizes a cancer survivor in the San Diego area
who has given back to the community by devoting his or her time to helping
others with cancer. Hill was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic tonsil cancer in
1997. When he was going through treatment, he had many questions about side
effects and realized there was a lack of information and awareness about head
and neck cancer even though the disease has a very high death rate, due to it
being caught at a late stage in most cases.
"There was a huge lack of information available, and I was desperate to find
someone to talk to who had gone through the same thing I was experiencing,"
Hill said. "I knew that if I was feeling this way, there had to be others feeling my
frustrations too. I then became a student of the disease. "
After Hill completed his grueling but successful radiation treatments at M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, he and his wife Ingrid founded The Oral
Cancer Foundation in 1999, which is now a national nonprofit charity. Besides its
original mission of patient support, it is involved in advocacy issues, sponsorship
of research and public awareness.
"Being chosen by ASTRO in this way is a huge honor. I feel as if this is the
second time I am the beneficiary, as I owe my being here today to the doctors
and radiation technology, which saved my life." He said.
As the pro bono director of the foundation, Hill spends his time speaking at
symposia and universities worldwide. He has also worked as an advocate with
congressmen and senators on issues as varied as the tobacco bill, Medicare
issues of post-treatment patients, the HPV vaccine and the issues of early cancer
Hill was inducted as the first non-doctor member of the American Academy of
Oral Medicine in recognition of contributions to oral cancer public literacy and
awareness programs and the promotion of early diagnosis of oral cancer via free
public screenings. He has also received awards from the NIH/NIDCR and the
Chicago Dental Society and become a recipient of NYU's prestigious Strusser
award for public service. He sits on oral cancer work groups from the CDC to
numerous professional dental and medical society organizations.
"Congratulations to Brian Hill for winning this prestigious award," Anthony
Zietman, M.D., ASTRO president and a radiation oncologist at Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, said. "Brian embodies everything that the Survivor
Circle Award stands for. He beat the odds with his own cancer and has worked
tirelessly to promote awareness for an under-recognized type of cancer. I'm
proud to have him as a part of the Annual Meeting."
The Survivor Circle was established in 2003 as a way for ASTRO to give back to
the cities that it visits during its Annual Meeting. Each year, ASTRO partners with
two local organizations to establish relationships with patient advocacy
organizations and radiation oncologists and to raise money to support these
groups in their work to help people living with cancer and their loved ones. This
year ASTRO has partnered with Mama's Kitchen and The Emilio Naras
The ASTRO Annual Meeting is the premier scientific meeting in radiation
oncology and attracts more than 11,000 attendees of various disciplines,
including oncologists, physicists, biologists, nurses and other healthcare
professionals from all over the world. The theme of this year's meeting is
"Gathering Evidence, Proving Value" and the program will examine the realities
of practicing medicine in 2010.
Provided by American Society for Radiation Oncology