HPV, The Underestimated Cause of Oral Cancer
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Speaker: Gerald J. Botko, DMD, MS, MAGD, FACD
Credit Hours: 1.5
Subject Code: 739-Diagnosis of Oral Pathology
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Human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oral and oropharyngeal cancers are more difficult for dentists to discover than tobacco-related cancers because the symptoms are not always obvious to the patient or to professionals who are looking for them. The symptoms can be subtle and painless. A doctor should evaluate all symptoms, especially if it has persisted for two or more weeks.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there are nearly 200 strains of HPV, most of which are harmless and not cancer-causing. Of all these, nine strains are known to cause cancers, and another six are suspected of causing cancers. Dentists are primarily concerned with HPV 16, which is associated with oral cancers.
- Recognize that HPV is a larger problem than many realize. Look for it. Learn about it.
- Know when you should refer a patient to a specialist.
- Understand the vaccines that may help reduce the number of HPV-related oral and oropharyngeal cancers.
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Gerald J. Botko, DMD, MS, MAGD, FACD, is the chief Dental Service at the Miami VA Healthcare system and a retired Army Colonel. Dr. Botko was in private practice for a number of years, worked with the Indian Health Service, and has a Masters in Microbiology. He is the coordinator of the OMFS residency program. He has been an instructor and preceptor for Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Chief over an AEGD program, written many articles for dental journals, including Impact, reviewer for the Journal of Dental Education(JDE). He is a published researcher in Nosocomial disease and tested Oral cancer products for Zila.