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Oral cancers highlighted for April awareness

March 19, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and a good time for dental professionals to consider their role in screening head and neck cancers and making referrals when appropriate.

The ADA offers resources on the topic of head and neck cancers based on the best scientific evidence.

In 2017, the ADA released a  clinical practice guideline for the evaluation of potentially malignant disorders in the oral cavity.

It offers clinicians an overview about the potential use of adjuncts as triage tools for the evaluation of lesions, including potentially malignant disorders in the oral cavity. The guideline also offers six recommendations, including that all adult dental patients should receive an intraoral and extraoral conventional visual and tactile examination when visiting their dentists.

To download and read the entire guideline, go to

The ADA Science Institute maintains a webpage on about oral cancers, with data about incidence and mortality; information about risk factors, signs and symptoms; as well as links to other resources, including an instructional video demonstrating the patient intraoral and extraoral conventional visual and tactile examination  for oral cancer.

Dentists can use the Patient Page in JADA to help facilitate a discussion about lesions that might be oral cancer. To view this, visit and search for "Oral Cancer: What To Do If Something Unusual Shows Up."

Dentists can also refer patients to the ADA's consumer website,, for general information about oral head and neck cancer and human papillomavirus. Check ADA News in April for more information about oropharyngeal cancer and HPV.

An ADA CE course about HPV-related orophayrngeal cancer is available online. To access the course, click here.

Dental professionals can also purchase brochures for their patients related to oral cancers.

Get the Facts About Mouth and Throat Cancer (W151) includes information about the causes, signs, symptoms and risk factors for both oral and pharyngeal cancer, along with the HPV connection.

Tobacco and Oral Health (W190) discusses the effects of tobacco and tobacco-related products on oral and overall health. Receive a 15 percent off discount using code 18114 until May 21 at