Preventing HPV Cancers in Action webinar series to highlight role of HPV vaccine in reducing cancer risk

April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month

To raise awareness of human papillomavirus and the use of the HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers, the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention is hosting a three-part webinar series, Preventing HPV Cancers in Action, as part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

The series will include:

• Part 1, The Critical Role of the Dentist, on March 23:
Dentists play a critical role in the detection of oral cancers and the education of their patients on the importance of HPV vaccination. Gary Heyamoto, D.D.S., president of the Academy of General Dentistry Foundation, will discuss the importance of performing a consistent and thorough clinical oral exam, as well as how to discuss HPV vaccination with patients, describe anterior mouth and posterior mouth from a medical perspective, and participate as an office in fighting HPV oral cancers through awareness and promotion of the HPV vaccine.

• Part 2, Dentists as Vaccinators, on April 6:
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness of dentists as vaccinators — including of the HPV vaccine. Rosie Wagner, D.D.S., founder of Smiles By Rosie Family Dentistry, and Isaac Zeckel, D.D.S., chief dental director of HealthLinc, will discuss the benefits of dentists as immunizers, steps to becoming a dentist immunizer, medicolegal considerations, and ways to increase access to care by providing a new vaccination setting, with innovative vaccination approaches that use on-site interdisciplinary teams.

• Part 3, "Building Blocs" — Medical-Dental Collaboration Models and More, on April 20:
How does a dentist interested in promoting the HPV vaccine build a collaboration with a medical provider? What actions can states take to build collaborative partnerships that increase HPV vaccination? Jessica Jack, M.D., pediatrician; Scott Hamilton, D.D.S., pediatric dentist at Denver Health; and Tommy Johnson, D.M.D., state dental director of the Alabama Department of Public Health, will discuss partnership models and more.

Each webinar will take place from noon-1 p.m. CDT and will be worth one hour of continuing education credit.

The ADA adopted a policy in 2018 that urges dentists to support the use and administration of the HPV vaccine, recognizing it as a way to help prevent infection of the types of HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer. The policy was the result of a proposal that included input from the ADA’s Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention, Council on Dental Practice and Council on Scientific Affairs. An HPV workgroup led by ADA volunteers developed an evidence-based background report to help write the policy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S. may be linked to HPV. In June 2020, the Federal Drug Administration added prevention of oropharyngeal and other head and neck cancers to the list of indications for the HPV vaccine.