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In brief: HCPs "need to change" patient awareness of cancer-alcohol link

Nov. 10, 2023
Learn about the incidence of alcohol-associated cancer and what experts say is the responsibility of health-care professionals to increase awareness.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

HCPs' role in discussing cancer-alcohol link "needs to change"

Around the world, alcohol is a significant risk factor for developing cancer—oral, among other types—yet global awareness of the link between drinking and cancer continues to be low. According to Medscape, which reported on findings discussed at a session on alcohol and cancer at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual Meeting 2023, alcohol use accounts for some 4% of newly diagnosed cancers worldwide, with seven cancer types—breast, oral cavity, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, colorectal, and liver cancer—attributable to alcohol consumption.

Also noted was more enhanced role health-care professionals could play in increasing patient awareness about the link but often don't—a situation that "needs to change," said a medical oncologist at the session.

Caries interventions improve outcomes, reduce risks

Recent research published in JAMA Network indicates that fluoride supplements, fluoride gels, varnish, and sealants administered to children in dental or school settings improved caries outcomes. The research was conducted to provide recommendations to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on primary care screening, dental referral, behavioral counseling, and preventive interventions for oral health in children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years, with such interventions “associated with improved oral health and reduced caries risk in children and adolescents.”

UK oral cancer increase linked to severe dentist shortage

In other cancer-related news, a shortage of dental practitioners in the UK is being identified as the key reason for a 46% increase in oral cancer in the UK since 2011. According to The Guardian, more than 3,000 people in England died from mouth cancer in 2021, compared with 2,075 in 2011. The British Dental Association attributes the rise to the number of active NHS dentists being at its lowest in a decade and up to 90% of dental practices not accepting new NHS patients.

ICYMI: 20-year study shows "alarming" antibiotic resistance in perio patients

In findings that underscore concern and confusion about the implications of antibiotic resistance and dentistry, a 20-year study shows a marked increase in resistance of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the main pathogen of gingivitis, as well as other periodontitis-associated bacteria. Using biofilm samples from three sets of patients with severe periodontitis from three time frames, researchers found over 20 years a 15-fold increase in the rate of clindamycin resistance and a 28-fold increase in resistance to amoxicillin.

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver is the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area; you can reach her at [email protected].