Online Program

Dentist's Role in Prevention and Screening for Oral HPV

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ethan Pansick, DDS, Addison Prosthodontics, Delray Beach, FL
Dentistry has an important role to play in the screening and prevention of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). One of the leading causes of oropharyngeal cancers is HPV.   The face of oral cancer has changed dramatically in the last decade with  an increase in both younger and female patients. Many of the early symptoms of HPV may seem quite innocent but may become apparent in a dental exam or through discussion with a dentist.  In light of the link between oral cancer and HPV, therefore,  it is important for dentists to not only be aware of the risk factors for HPV-related oral cancers but also to be able to communicate with patients about them. This can become very uncomfortable as such conversations may involve taking a sexual history as well as discussing sexual practices. Additionally, the stigma that may be associated with HPV and the means of transmission may increase the difficulty of such conversations with patients who may be embarrassed or reluctant to disclose pertinent information. Conversations about sexual behavior and sexual risk factors are not typical in the dentist/patient relationship.  This presentation will discuss the clinical background of HPV-related oral cancers, discuss how to ethically navigate the often uncomfortable situation in the clinical setting wherein a dentist screens for and/or treats oral cancer in both adults and minors, and recommend ways to improve this communication to enhance both screening and prevention. 

Learning Areas:

Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Other professions or practice related to public health
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the changing face of oral cancer. Explain the role of dentistry in screening for a preventing HPV related oral cancer. Discuss stigma as a communication barrier in screening for HPV related oral cancer.

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I earned my DDS degree in 1991, and continued formal training with a one-year General Practice Residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.I am also involved in organized dentistry and serve as the Speaker of the House for the Florida Dental Association. I was one of 17 members of the ADA's Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs and have served as Peer Review Chair for South Palm Beach County Dental Association for the past 10 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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