Collaboration to Combat HPV-related Throat Cancers Ahead of ADA 2017
CHICAGO: In continuation of a novel collaboration to improve patient outcomes related to oral and oropharyngeal cancer, the American Dental Association (ADA) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are joining forces to host a symposium, Working Together Against Oropharyngeal Cancer, on Wednesday, October 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, immediately preceding ADA 2017 - America's Dental Meeting.
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The symposium will feature a cancer survivor panel, including Sandra Wexler, an MD Anderson patient and oropharyngeal cancer survivor from Houston who credits her dentist with saving her life after a head and neck screening during a routine checkup.

"If it weren't for my dentist, it would have been another six months before I saw my primary care physician," said Ms. Wexler. "During my dental checkup she identified an enlarged lymph node and referred me to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician, who then sent me directly to MD Anderson. My dentist, alongside MD Anderson, saved my life."

The ADA and MD Anderson agree that increasing the percentage of children and young adults vaccinated for HPV is critical to improving their health and reducing risk of several related cancers, including those of the oropharynx (the part of the throat just behind the mouth).

"This symposium provides a wonderful opportunity to educate a variety of health care professionals about HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers, which are rising at epidemic proportions," said Erich Sturgis, M.D., professor of Head and Neck Surgery at MD Anderson. "The vast majority of these cancers could be prevented by a safe and effective vaccine. Together with the ADA, we hope to be able to increase childhood vaccination rates while raising awareness to promote earlier diagnosis of these cancers."

The collaboration between the ADA and MD Anderson will also include programs aimed at preventing children and young adults from starting to smoke while encouraging current smokers to quit is another key component of the collaboration as tobacco use is a major cause of cancer in the oral cavity (the mouth).

"The symposium is just one piece of a larger puzzle that we are working on with MD Anderson, one of the most respected cancer centers in the world, to increase HPV vaccinations and tobacco cessation for oral cancer prevention," said ADA President Gary L. Roberts, D.D.S. "ADA member dentists promise to put patients first, and together with MD Anderson we are excited to pioneer new programs to help patients live healthy and disease-free lives."

While the symposium will address the relationship between HPV infection and oropharyngeal cancer, the ADA also recently released an updated oral cancer guideline for the evaluation of the oral cavity and identification of pre-malignant lesions. Dentists may be the first to notice signs of a potentially malignant disorder in patients' mouths. The ADA maintains its primary recommendation that patients seeking care of suspicious lesions in the oral cavity should immediately have a biopsy or be referred to an appropriate specialist.

(Posted on 18 October 2017, 1669707200 3O235O180O193)