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SOURCE California Dental Hygienists’ Association
California Dental Hygienists' Association Offers Information to Reduce Risk of Oral Cancer Associated with the HPV Virus
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In June of this year, Emmy award-winning actor Michael Douglas revealed that his throat cancer was a result of HPV, formally known as the Human Papilloma Virus, which infected him through oral sex. His admission shed light on HPV infections and the risk of oral cancer.
"It is important to emphasize the necessity of regular examinations. This includes the importance of routinely checking the back of your throat when brushing your teeth and checking for lumps in your neck (while shaving for example)," said Nadine Lavell, RDH, MS, CDHA President.
If you find any new lumps in the back of your throat or neck, seek further evaluation by your dental professional or primary care physician.
"The dental community is the first line of defense in early detection of the disease," said Lavell. "Since you see your dental hygienist more frequently than any other provider, a thorough oral cancer screening at your cleaning appointment is imperative to help detect any possible anomalies."
Oral cancer screenings are quite easy –
The exam will include looking for abnormal or suspicious patches or lesions. If lesions are seen in the mouth, procedures that may include fluorescent illumination, staining, or biopsies (tissue sample sent to lab for diagnosis) may be used to find abnormal tissue that might develop into oral cancer.
According to the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –
These HPV-related head and neck cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the mouth and throat), occur primarily near the tonsils and the back of the tongue. Previously, it was thought that most head and neck cancers were caused by tobacco and alcohol use.
"Researchers now believe that up to 80% of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S. are due to infection with the HPV virus," said Lavell. "HPV-related head and neck cancer occurs in both people who drink or smoke and those who don't."
Other lifestyle habits that increase risk –
Early detection and screening is imperative, along with eliminating risk factors. It is important that the public realize that a visit to the dental hygienist is no longer just about a cleaning. Dental examinations, which include a screening for oral cancer, will save lives.
For more information, please visit the CDHA web site: www.cdha.org
The California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) is the authoritative voice of the state's dental hygiene profession. The organization was established more than 25 years ago when two regional associations merged to form a unified professional group. CDHA represents thousands of dental hygienists.
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