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Oral cancer forum sparks debate

Packed house: The first of annual session’s open clinical forums drew hundreds of attendees Saturday in the LOC on the exhibit floor. Today's Fluoride: Evidence-Based Clinical Recommendations will meet from 12-1:30 p.m.

It’s one of the most talked-about issues in dentistry: Do screening devices help early diagnosis of disease?

That was just one of many questions raised during Saturday’s Oral Cancer and Oral Cancer Screening Forum that prompted lively discussion from researchers and clinicians alike.

Questions ranged from the specific, such as whether visual and tactile exams help reduce morbidity or mortality to the general—since India has the highest instance of oral cancer, is the disease related to geographic populations? But it was the screening devices that brought many people to the microphones during a question-and-answer session in the World Marketplaces’s Learn Optimize Connect area.

Panel member Dr. Mark Lingen, an oral pathologist at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, cautioned the more than 700 attendees who packed the forum, that no matter what your take, the devices should never replace an exam.

Screening:  Dr. John Allen of Orlando, Fla., asks the panel about oral cancer screening.

“The most important word here is adjunct,” he said. “These devices are adjuncts.”

The forum was a first in a series of open clinical forums developed in partnership with the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and The Journal of the American Dental Association. The others are Fluoride: Evidence-Based Clinical Recommendations (Sunday, 12-1:30 p.m.
and Cone Beam Computed Tomography, Monday, 12-1:30 p.m.)

Saturday’s oral cancer session was moderated by Dr. Michael Glick, dean, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and JADA editor; and Dr. Daniel Meyer, senior vice president, ADA Division of Science/Professional Relations.

Smokeless: Dr. John Kalmar of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry discusses smokeless tobacco.

In addition to Dr. Lingen, the expert panel included Drs. Michael Rethman, chair, ADA Council on ScientificAffairs; Catherine Flaitz, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston; Scott Benjamin, ADA Standards Committee on Dental Products; John Kalmar, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and Lauren Patton, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry.