ADA Teams Up with MD Anderson for Oral Cancer Prevention

May 24, 2017
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

The American Dental Association and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are partnering to prevent oral cancer. The two groups will work to increase vaccination rates for HPV and promote smoking cessation efforts. Experts say there are more than 50,000 cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx diagnosed each year.

To increase rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and tobacco cessation for oral cancer prevention, the American Dental Association (ADA) has teamed up with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to promote prevention programs aimed at dental and medical professionals. It is estimated that over 50,000 new cases of cancer in the oral cavity and pharynx will be diagnosed this year, and most of these cancers will not be diagnosed until they are in later stages.

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Currently, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer in the U.S.; almost one-third of all cancer cases are directly related to tobacco consumption. However, cancers resulting from HPV infection are occurring more often. HPV infection has been shown to be responsible for as many as 70 percent of all cases of oropharyngeal cancers, in addition to cervical, anal, and genital cancers. Cancers caused by HPV are four-times more common in men than in women, and almost 9,000 new cases of cancer related to HPV will be diagnosed this year.

Due to the increasing incidence of these types of cancers, the ADA and MD Anderson both stress the importance of vaccinating young adults for HPV, since such vaccinations can improve patients’ health and help prevent HPV-related cancers. Additionally, both organizations are focused on developing programs to prevent children and young adults from smoking. Focus will also be on finding new methods of encouraging and supporting current smokers in their efforts to stop smoking.

Marshall Hicks, M.D. and President ad interim of MD Anderson, says, “Tobacco use and HPV infection remain the leading causes of oral cancers. MD Anderson is pleased to partner with the ADA to develop innovative educational programs that will increase awareness about the prevention and early detection of oral cancers. Through this collaboration, we have a significant opportunity to inform care providers and the public about the associated risks, and we can make a difference in the fight to end cancer.”

“ADA member dentists promise to put patients first, and as a profession we look for innovative ways to treat and prevent disease, and promote wellness. Together with MD Anderson, one of the most respected cancer centers in the world, we are excited to pioneer new programs to help our patients live healthy and disease-free lives,” says Gary Roberts, D.D.S. and President of the ADA.

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