3 facts you need to know about oral cancer

3 facts about oral cancer you need to know

HPV
HPV

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April is oral cancer awareness month. Here are three facts (in bold) every dental professional needs to know about this often misunderstood disease.

The US Preventive Service Task Force’s (USPSTF) screening for oral cancer recommendations state:

Papilloma Virus Hpv Em1. Up to 75% of cases of oral cancer may be attributed to tobacco and alcohol use.

2. The overall prevalence of oral HPV infection (a causitive agent of OC) is estimated to be 6.9% in adults aged 14 to 69 years in the United States. However, HPV prevalence can be as high as 20% for persons who have more than 20 lifetime sexual partners or currently use tobacco (more than 1 pack of cigarettes per day).

3. The prevalence of type-specific HPV-16 oral infection is estimated at 1% in adults aged 14 to 69 years (an estimated 2.13 million infected persons). Human papillomavirus-16 is associated with approximately 85% to 95% of cases of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer. Therefore, the increasing role of oral HPV infection as a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer may warrant future assessment of the independent effect of HPV-16 on incidence and outcomes of oropharyngeal cancer and the health effect of screening persons who are HPV-16-positive.

Given these facts, shouldn’t you be doing a comprehensive oral cancer examination on every patient at every recare visit? Anything less puts your patient at risk.

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About the author:

John C. Comisi, DDS, is a graduate of Northwestern University Dental School and has been in private practice of General Dentistry since 1983 in Ithaca, NY. He is a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, and lectures on various dental topics and procedures. Visit his practice page here.

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