Perceptions about HPV and Oropharyngeal Cancers

Published 02/15/2023

The Role of Dental Care Providers in HPV Prevention among US Adults 

Nearly 60% of adults are comfortable discussing HPV and the HPV vaccine with their oral health care provider, and providers have an opportunity to increase consumer knowledge about the relationship between HPV and oral cancers, according to CareQuest Institute survey results published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.  

HPV and Oral Cancer Prevention 

The article shares results from a nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 adults in the US to examine HPV vaccine knowledge and perceptions about HPV and oral health. Additional key learnings include: 

  • 80% of adults perceived that the HPV vaccine was very or somewhat important in preventing oropharyngeal cancer. 
  • More than one-half (56.7%) of adults had positive perceptions about dental care providers’ role in HPV education. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to disruption in regular and preventive care, HPV vaccination rates fell, and vaccine hesitancy rose. 

With rates of oral cancer on the rise, it is essential that oral health care providers engage in HPV conversations with their patients. The HPV vaccine is 90% effective at preventing HPV and related cancers, yet only 54% of adolescents aged 13 through 17 were up to date with their HPV vaccine in 2019. 

Read the article in The Journal of the American Dental Association (open access)  

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