HPV Related Oral Cancer Screening: Different Presentation, Different Protocol

Dental professionals, making assumptions about the two distinct pathways of oral cancer, often forgo comprehensive oral cancer screenings, which affects patients' prognosis and creates malpractice liability.

Nov 13th, 2013

A Peer-Reviewed Publication Written by Cris Duval, RDH

Abstract

Dental professionals, making assumptions about the two distinct pathways of oral cancer, often forgo comprehensive oral cancer screenings, which affects patients' prognosis and creates malpractice liability. Absent comprehensive screenings, HPV-related oral cancer is diagnosed late-stage, when morbidity is highest. To curb late diagnosis we must heed current research. HPV-related oral cancer, which is rapidly on the rise, is different in its clinical presentation from tobacco/alcohol- related oral cancer. Thus, we cannot rely on what we learned in dental school, risk profiling, or traditional tools to screen for HPV-related oral cancer. We must change our approach, by implementing comprehensive screenings that incorporate extra/intra- oral tactile screenings, visual screenings of all tissues, and asking appropriate, revealing questions.

Educational Objectives:

At the end of this self-instructional educational activity, the participant will be able to:

1. Discuss why patients with HPV-related oral cancer do not fit the profile of patients with tobacco/alcohol-related oral cancer.
2. Identify obstacles that thwart early discovery.
3. Discuss the clinical presentation of HPV-related oral cancer.
4. Determine that adjunctive screening tools do not help identify HPV-related lesions.
5. Implement the use of appropriate, revealing questions during the screening process.

This educational activity was developed by PennWell's Dental Group with no commercial support.

This course was written for dentists, dental hygienists and assistants, from novice to skilled.

Educational Methods: This course is a self-instructional journal and web activity.

To view this course in its entirety, please click here.

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