New dentist and GP head and neck cancer education module


Students of dentistry focused on their practice on dental manikins

Today, Head and Neck Cancer Australia (HANCA) launched two new resources, to which the ADA proudly contributed, which will give people a better chance of early detection as well as supporting those who are newly diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer (HNC).

The education module was launched this morning at HANCA’s first Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra, attended by ADA Deputy CEO, Eithne Irving, which was hosted by Senator Deborah O’Neill, Senator Michaelia Cash and Kylea Tink MP, Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Cancer Care and Cure Group.

Head and Neck Cancer Australia Chair, A/Prof Puma Sundaresan says, ”We are delighted to launch this education module for GPs for Dentists, knowing it will help, through early diagnosis and referral, not only save lives but lessen the brutal impact this disease has on survivors.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the GP and Dental representatives, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), Australian Dental Association (ADA), former patients and expert HNC and Oral Medicine clinicians who were all members of our Expert Advisory Committee and helped to inform the content for the module. We couldn’t have delivered such an informative and valuable resource without their support and the expertise of the Arterial Education team.”

In light of the fact that there no screening tests for HNC as there are no technologies currently available that meet the criteria for use in population screening, it is essential that dentists and GPs have the tools to detect these cancers early so patients are diagnosed and referred to a specialist for further management to improve their outcomes.

The video-based module, which takes about one hour, was developed by a panel comprising Dr Matthew Garvey, ENT, head and neck surgeon and Dr Felix Sim, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, aims to equip GPs and dentists to do the following:

– Describe changes in the demographics and trajectory in head and neck cancer epidemiology.

– Identify specific signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer in comparison to non-malignant lesions.

– Select the optimal referral pathway for patients with suspected head and neck cancer.

– Outline the unique long term survivorship support needs of people living with head and neck cancer.

– Perform oral and extraoral examinations to screen for oral and related malignancies.

All healthcare professionals can register and enrol in the module and will receive a certificate on completion.

For more, go to Head and Neck Cancer Australia