Continuing Education - Receive 2 Hours of FREE CE Credit

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This Month's Free CE:

The Future of Oral Cancer Diagnosis: Merging Provider Awareness, Patient Education, and Technology to Achieve Early Detection

By Leonard B. Goldstein, DDS, PhD; Mai-Ly Duong, DMD, MPH, MAEd; Robert Levine, DDS; and Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH


Oral cancer screening may be performed by trained dental team members and requires only a few minutes. Because oral diseases and mucosal abnormalities may lead to malignancies, oral health providers need to be aware of the emerging roles that the human papillomavirus (HPV), fluorescent technology, and salivary biomarkers play in the prevalence and diagnosis of oral and/ or oropharyngeal cancers. In addition to discussing HPV and head, neck, and oral cancers, this article examines the use of fluorescence as a useful tool in helping to screen oral soft tissue while describing various methods for visualization of oral tissue fluorescence. It also reviews the emergence of salivary biomarkers as a promising diagnostic and prognostic tool in oral squamous cell carcinoma and considers the potential for metabolomic analysis of oral specimens. Throughout this discussion of oral cancer diagnosis the authors encourage oral healthcare providers to engage patients regarding the risk factors and lifestyle habits related to increased risk for cancer.


After reading this article, the reader should be able to:

  • Outline the frequency with which healthcare providers should perform oral cancer screenings on patients.
  • Explain how to perform a thorough visual and tactile oral cancer screening on patients.
  • Discuss such diagnostic factors as visualization of oral tissue fluorescence, salivary biomarkers, and metabolomics.


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