Oral cancer: What you can do to help end this disease
By: American Dental Association, American Student Dental Association
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 53,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in 2019, and the American Dental Association is working to provide members with resources that can help them do their part to fight and end this disease.
While April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month, every day presents an opportunity to make a difference. Discover the ways you can do to end this disease via the American Student Dental Association. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team
The association published its clinical practice guideline on evaluation for oral cancer in 2017. It offers guidance for dentists on how to check for lesions, how to identify potentially malignant disorders and how to proceed in relevant clinical scenarios. The guideline points out that even though a variety of adjunct tools are marketed to dentists to enhance pick up of lesions because there isn't evidence demonstrating that they improve screening, they aren't recommended. And for situations where a lesion is observed, the guideline provides clinical pathways for follow up.
In addition to the guideline, the ADA has produced a chairside guide to walk you through the guideline's recommendations, along with an instructional video that shows how to perform each step of a conventional visual and tactile exam on a patient. You also can watch a brief video on the ADA's YouTube page that highlights how to check patients for oral cancer.
Given the current increase in HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer, the most effective thing dentists can do to prevent oropharyngeal cancer is to encourage appropriately aged individuals to receive the HPV vaccine. Learn more about the ADA's HPV vaccine policy at ADA.org, and check out this video from an ADA dentist who has a personal connection to the disease she hopes to one day defeat.