Did you know that the major cause of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC), the Human Papilloma Virus type 16 and 18, are included in the HPV vaccine? HPV causes about 70% of current cases of head and neck cancer. While oropharyngeal cancer screening is essential don’t’ miss an opportunity to prevent oropharyngeal cancer in your patients. The New York State Dental Foundation and NYSDA have partnered with the NYS HPV Coalition to increase awareness about the HPV vaccine to prevent oral cancer.
Let parents know that you strongly support HPV vaccination as prevention of cancer. The vaccine gives the best immune response when given before the 13th birthday for both boys and girls but can be given to others as well. There are more OPC cases than cervical cancer cases now. According to the CDC, each year there are 12,900 new cases of Oropharyngeal cancer and 10,800 new cervical cancer cases. The reduction in cervical cancer is a result of the HPV immunization program for females beginning over a decade ago and within a short time we have the power to see similar results with OPC.
Make sure all staff in the office can answer questions about HPV vaccine with science based answers. Refer to the patients primary care provider or the local health department. By having primary care, dental care, and the health department work towards increasing the HPV vaccination rate, we will be able to prevent OPC’s well into the future.
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