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The Importance of Oral Cancer & HPV Conversations With Patients

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! – but read the disclaimers it might not count for your state.

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It’s A Tale of Two Hygienists’ student roundtable episode, which means Andrew and Michelle have invited a roster of guests to educate student listeners on a chosen topic.

With April being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it is only fitting that they have invited three powerhouses in this field to the roundtable today. Susan Cotton is a passionate, speaker, consultant, author, and subject matter expert on HPV, oral and oropharyngeal cancer, and screening, who is also the founder of Oral Cancer Consulting, and the originator of the ‘Cotton Method’. Maria Perdo Goldie is a noted researcher, author, and speaker, whose many, many achievements include being a Past President of ADHA and the International Federation of Dental Hygienists, a ten year member of the Smoking Cessation Centre, and presenting seminars nationally and internationally on many topics including Cancers and Oral Care for the Cancer Patient and Oral Cancer. Jill Meyer-Lippert is the founder of Side Effect Support LLC, has been published in several print and online dental and oncology resources, is a 2014 recipient of the Sunstar Americas/RDH Award of Distinction and is also the Community Relations Manager with Custom Dental Solutions. All three guests are members of the Registered Dental Hygienist Advisory Board for the Oral Cancer Foundation.


In this very special episode, these three experts share their perspective on a number of pertinent issues such as the current level of emphasis upon oral cancer and HPV screening, increasing risk factors, the HPV vaccine, building screening into the rhythm of appointments, and next steps to follow when something suspicious is detected. Woven throughout the episode are sage words of advice and a wealth of resource recommendations from our guests. As Michelle notes, Susan, Maria, and Jill are absolute treasures in the industry who use their vast amount of knowledge and experience to educate and empower clinicians in their ultimate mission to save lives. That is precisely what they do here today – listen in to be both informed and inspired.



Interview starts: 7:28

–   An introduction to today’s experts

–   Their opinions on the current amount of emphasis on oral cancer and

HPV screening and detection

–   The increase in risk factors


–   The ‘two week rule’

–   The Throat Scope

–   Advice for new dental hygienists around starting the screening and

detection process

–   HPV vaccine update

–   Vaccines as a tool for prevention

–   Building screening into the rhythm of appointments

–   Having an oral cancer risk assessment

–   Using the fluorescence screening device properly

–   Educating yourself at the Oral Cancer Foundation website

–   The next steps when something suspicious is detected

–   Final words of advice from our experts

–   Susan’s upcoming oral cancer screening video



“I don’t feel dentistry, as a whole, has placed the emphasis on oral cancer, HPV, and the importance of screening every patient every time.”

“We really need to take some responsibility to go that extra step for people.”

“HPV is a game changer.”

“If somebody does have something in their mouth that’s unusual that lasts over two weeks, that is usually a sign that you do need to have that looked at.”

“I think if you’re following a protocol, it doesn’t feel quite so invasive.”

“What we know now…”

“It’s a cancer vaccine, and that’s, I feel, the way we need to talk about it.”

“What we know in this world is not everybody gets to choose when their first sexual encounter is.”

“Well, now that you mention that, could you check this area for me?”

“Thoroughly document in your treatment notes.”

“Sometimes, years they were watching and waiting something rather than have it biopsied or checked out further!”

“Don’t let the busy-ness of your day get in the way of doing this thorough and complete oral cancer evaluation and educate your patients…make it a priority for your patients and your colleagues.”

“Do not be bullied by anybody, including your boss.”

“Be proactive…be empathetic and understanding…and make sure that they are not feeling judged.”

“Refer them to a support group.”

“Get rid of that feeling that we’re going to scare them – we’re educating.” 


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Canadian Dental Association:

Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene:

FDI World Dental Federation:

Oral Cancer Chairside Guide:

Oral Cancer Foundation:

RDH Magazine Articles:

Side Effect Support homepage:

Side Effect Support Facebook:

Side Effect Support Twitter:

Oral Cancer Consulting:

Susan Cotton Facebook:

Susan Cotton LinkedIn:

Maria Perno Goldie email:

Maria Perno Goldie Facebook:

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