April Focus: Early Detection & Prevention

Oral cancer is on the rise. The American Cancer Society most recently estimates about 58,450 new cases and 12,230 deaths in the U.S. in 2024 from oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. The five-year survival rate is only about 40% because oral cancers are often discovered at later stages. Survivors often experience problems such as facial disfigurement or eating and speaking difficulties. Early detection is key to improved survival rates and dental hygienists are key to early detection.

Take some time this month for oral cancer-specific learning and amplify your awareness, understanding and knowledge to support your patients with prevention, detection, diagnosis and care management.

April Events & Content

Michelle Arnett and JoAnn Gurenlian

Empowering Change: Using Brief Motivational Interviewing for Tobacco Cessation in Oral Cancer Prevention

Occurred Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Presenters: Michelle Arnett, RDH, MS, and JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AAFAAOM, FADHA

Attendees discovered motivational interviewing to help patients quit smoking, and learned to assess readiness to quit and guide change conversations using Ask, Advise, Refer. Special guest from the CDC’s 2024 Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Rebecca M. shared her story. 


Dr. Bruce Lieberthal, DMD

Innovation in Early Oral Cancer Detection

Episode 131, Released April 2, 2024
Host: Matt Crespin, MPH, RDH, FADHA
Guests: Dr. Bruce Lieberthal, DMD, Chief Innovation Officer, Henry Schein, Inc.

Dr. Bruce Lieberthal explains his personal connection and dedication to early detection that has led to his innovative diagnostic work at the forefront of oral cancer detection and new cutting-edge point-of-care salivary technology.

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Oral Cancer Screening

April 2024
By Fred Michmershuizen

Valuable oral cancer knowledge, perspectives and screening techniques earned and learned through personal battles and professional experience by hygienists interviewed for the article.

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Oral Cancer + The Dental Hygienist

Oral Cancer + The Dental Hygienist

Occurred Saturday, April 27
Jersey City, NJ

This sold out hands-on certification workshop for clinical oral health professionals was a big success! A Deep-dive on oral pathology, mastering the oral examination and certifying in a practical lab for cutting-edge point-of-care salivary diagnostic technology, attendees finished the day ready to support their patients through early detection, diagnosis and treatment.


View event photos below!



From the Journal of Dental Hygiene

Headshot of Catherine K. Draper, RDH, MS, FADHA

Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancers: Moving Beyond Awareness

Catherine K. Draper, RDH, MS, FADHA
April 2024, 98 (2) 4-5

Dental hygienists are key to early diagnosis and disease prevention. Opportunities lie ahead for intra- and interprofessional collaboration within the dental team, OC/OPC education, clinical protocols and communication with oral medicine specialists..


Lisa Bennett Johnson

Oral Cancer: Prevention, Detection and Prospects for Greater Health Equity

Lisa Bennett Johnson, DHSc, MPH, RDH, CPH, MCHES
April 2023, 97 (2) 4-6

Explore critical issues surrounding oral cancer, including how oral health inequities impact screening, education, and prevention of oral cancer.


Cover of the Journal of Dental Hygiene

The Effect of CE on Dental Hygienists’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Regarding HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer

Toni M. McLeroy, CRDH, MS; JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AAFAAOM, FADHA; and Ellen J. Rogo, RDH, PhD
June 2020, 94 (3) 16-28

This study investigates the effect of CE training on dental hygienists’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding HPV related OPC six weeks after a 1-hour online CE course on the topic.


Cover of the Journal of Dental Hygiene

Perceptions of Oral Cancer Screenings as Compared to Other Cancer Screenings

M. Colleen Stephenson, RDH, MS; JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AAFAAOM, FADHA; and Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS
June 2017, 91 (3) 37-46

This article reports on the identified associations between consumer perceptions of oral cancer screening when compared with other common cancer screenings, using a convenience sample of 100 Idaho adults interviewed by phone.


Thumbnail of the ADHA Oral Cancer Flyer


Oral Cancer Facts & Self-Exam Guide

Download, print and use the ADHA’s updated fact sheet on oral cancer.

  • Statistics on the prevalence and survival rate of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer
  • Risk factors that contribute to the development of oral cancer
  • Warning signs to be aware of that patients may spot or experience
  • Why early detection and treatment are key to improving survival rates
  • A Guide to the Oral Cancer Self-Exam


Tips From Former Smokers, 4 Patient Headshots

Free CDC Resources to Help Patients Quit Smoking

The CDC launched their 2024 Tips from Former Smokers campaign with a number of free resources for download and ordering.

Provided by the Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

View, Print, Order

1Key Statistics for Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers. (2024). American Cancer Society. Retrieved January 25, 2024, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html