Dentistry & Pediatrics: Working Together on Cancer Prevention
Did you know that cases of head and neck cancer caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are significantly increasing in the United States and around the world? HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer, but many people don’t know that HPV also causes about 70% of current cases of head and neck cancer. HPV infection is very common, affecting 80-90% of people at some point in their lives. And, though only some will go on to develop cancer, head and neck cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, many patients can be at an advanced stage of disease by the time they are diagnosed, and the treatment is harsh.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine against the most common types of HPV (type 16) that cause both cervical and head and neck cancers. As a pediatrician, I strongly recommend HPV vaccine to my families with children ages 11 – 12. We are at an exciting time in medicine where we have a vaccine that can help prevent certain types of cancer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed new resources for providers to use when talking with families about the HPV vaccine. These include several guides for dental professionals so that they, too, can answer common questions, comfortably educate patients, and advocate for the HPV vaccine.
Pediatricians and dentists are coming together to advocate for oral health which includes preventing cavities, establishing healthy habits and, now, preventing cancer. These new resources include important information for dentists to be able to answer common questions and concerns regarding HPV vaccine. Use and share these valuable resources.
For Pediatric Professionals:
- Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC) and HPV Prevention in Children: 5 Key Points that Pediatricians Need to know
For Dental Professionals:
- Answering Questions About HPV Vaccine: A Guide for Dental Professionals
- Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC) and HPV Prevention in Children: 5 Key Points that Dental Professionals Need to Know