How carefully are you screening for oral cancer with each patient? Do you know that each day 100 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and one person every hour of every day will die from it?
In addition, an increase in new cases has occurred among populations such as nonsmoking men and women under 50 years old who have not typically been at risk in the past.
New research has surfaced in the last five years that provides compelling evidence for certain variants of the human papillomavirus (HPV) as a causative agent, joining tobacco, alcohol, sun exposure, and diet as the risk factors associated with new oral cancer cases.
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Considering these alarming revelations, the role of the dental hygienist in oral cancer-related patient education and examinations is more vital than ever.
Data collected between 2008 and 2011 seem to indicate that oral cancer is on the rise, more aggressively among populations that have not historically been impacted by the disease.
By Kellie Kennedy, RDH, BS