April 2018 • Jo-Anne Jones, RDH • Dentistry Today Magazine - ViewPoint • DentistryToday.com
Have We Become Disconnected?
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The objective in sharing my thoughts here is no jut to write another articles on the horrors of oral cancer, but to incite a much deeper response. The employment of opportunistic oral cancer screenings is an effective means of finding cancer at its early and highly curable stage. Of course, there are shortcomings experienced, particularly when we consider the difficulty in visually accessing the high-risk anatomical areas associated with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related orooharyngeal cancer. Our professional body possesses a complex arsenal of knowledge and skills to be used in the service of others. We own this. Are you connected?
The visual and tactile extraoral/intraoral examination, accompanied by a subjective interview, is the fundamental and baseline requirement of today's dental practice. Public survey results continually point to a low rate of oral cancer screening being routinely performed. Why? When this disease is in our hands to discover, why are we often waiting for our dental patient to bring our attention to it? By the time a patient does this, it is often too late. Oral cancer screening, especially in today's world, has never been more important. Our patients deserve and need to know that the historical risk factors of smoking and alcohol are being challenged by a fast-growing etiologic factor that is virally transmitted. HPV is the fastest-growing sexually transmitted infection in North America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives."
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Acknowledgements: Article used with permission and thanks to Dentistry Today Magazine. See more at DentistryToday.com