Why It Matters
Cancer has impacted our family in more ways than one. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor. My stepfather is a survivor of B-cell lymphoma, prostate, and oral cancer. My mother-in-law is a two-time survivor of thyroid cancer and my father-in-law survived early-stage lung cancer.
Going through each cancer diagnosis, treatment phase and survivorship with each one has made a personal impact on our family and opened our eyes to the world of cancer and cancer treatment.
Having so many family members impacted by cancer has pursued me to a career as a pediatric hospital oral health educator. In this role, I help children impacted by cancer navigate oral cancer side effects through diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This role has opened my eyes to the debilitating oral side effects children endure during treatment and even into survivorship.
This non-profit was created due to the lack of resources available and the exorbitant oral care needs of patients going through cancer treatment and into survivorship. Our hope is that Smiles for Cancer Warriors can provide every oncology patient with the dental and oral health support they need while undergoing treatment and into survivorship. Thank you for your help in supporting this organization to make a difference in these patients' lives!
Behind the Smiles
MPH, RDH, Oral Health Educator
Katharine Martinez has her master’s degree in public health and undergrad degree in dental hygiene. She currently is employed by a pediatric hospital as an oral health educator. In this role, she works with a multidisciplinary team to improve patients’ treatment outcomes. A major focus of this role is working with patients undergoing cancer treatment to help alleviate oral side effects, provide product recommendations, and improve oral care compliance and oral issues related to survivorship.
Katharine has worked in pediatric and general dental clinics providing dental hygiene for patients of all ages and backgrounds. She has done consulting with home health agencies specifically on developing oral health training for patients with developmental disabilities, their caregivers and nurses. Katharine has aided and consulted with oncology clinics on oral health advice to serve patients undergoing Cancer treatment. Katharine has worked in collaboration with public health agencies in Oregon to develop and implement access to dental care programs for the uninsured. She has written published articles involving her role in medical/dental collaboration, pediatric cancer care, and expanding patients’ oral health knowledge through the use of the Health Belief Model.
Adam Martinez is the treasurer for Smiles for Cancer Warriors. He has immediate family members who have gone through the hardships of cancer and cancer treatments. He has a deep passion for helping others who have been impacted by cancer.