This April, during Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, North Memorial Health and Delta Dental of Minnesota partnered to convene over 100 healthcare providers to discuss prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV-associated head and neck cancer is a growing epidemic for both women and men in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 3,200 new cases are diagnosed in women and about 13,200 are diagnosed in men each year.
For those affected, early diagnosis, treatment and concerted prevention efforts are critical. With dentists having a close proximity to areas of concern for some oral cancers, a joint effort between dental and medical professionals is required to produce the best outcomes.
“The new patient with head and neck cancer is much younger and doesn’t have the traditional risk factors of alcohol and tobacco use,” says Dr. Deepak Kademani, medical director, North Memorial Health Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. “This exemplifies the need for us to educate both physicians, dentists and the public to ensure we are able to implement effective public health programs, such as vaccination, and when tumors occur, be able to diagnose them at the earliest time possible.”
“We believe that prevention and education are crucial and both dentists and medical professionals play an important role,” says Dr. Eileen Crespo, Vice President of Medical Services at Delta Dental of Minnesota. “Well informed and confident dialogue between practitioners and patients is very important for cancer prevention.”
The conference, which was held at Radisson BLU at Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, on Friday, April 13, 2018 also featured a panel of cancer survivors who spoke to the importance of having a healthcare team that excels in collaboration and personal relationships.
“With a dentist – the mouth is kind of their region,” said Steve, an oral cancer survivor speaking at the event. “When the bump in my mouth didn’t get any smaller, [the dentist] called me and said: ‘OK, it’s time – you need to go see an oral surgeon and get a biopsy.’”
Another survivor, Jill, spoke about her cancer recovery and how Dr. Kademani and has helped her find a “new normal” since being diagnosed over 15 years ago.
“A physician becomes a healer when they go beyond the technical part of the surgery and encourage their patients through healing and through self-care,” said Jill. “Every step of the way they are behind you getting you to the next point in your journey.”
About North Memorial Health
At North Memorial Health, we are on a mission to change healthcare. We’re delivering unmatched customer service and empowering our customers throughout the Twin Cities to achieve their best health. North Memorial Health offers a complete spectrum of primary care and specialty services to meet customer’s unique healthcare needs. North Memorial Health provides access to the high-quality, low-cost care throughout the Twin Cities through its specialty and primary care clinics, home care offering, medical transportation services and two hospitals – North Memorial Health Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital – and 900+ doctors and 5,000+ team members that are dedicated to delivering a more connected experience for our customers. Learn more at www.NorthMemorial.com.
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Delta Dental of Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit health services company that serves the oral health needs of Minnesota and North Dakota residents. Since 1969, Delta Dental of Minnesota has accomplished this mission by providing the best access across the state to oral health care through affordable dental plans. Delta Dental of Minnesota is an authorized licensee of the Delta Dental Plans Association of Oak Brook, Illinois. To learn more, visit DeltaDentalMN.org.