The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and the AGD Foundation (AGDF) recently sent a letter to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging Congress to bring forth a vote for H.R. 1550, the Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education and New Treatments (PREVENT) HPV Cancers Act of 2021. The AGD and AGDF strongly supports this bipartisan legislation and its provisions to promote public awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which can prevent HPV and cancers associated with HPV. H.R.1550, the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act, also would increase funding at the National Cancer Institute to focus research on HPV-associated cancers.
The AGD and the AGDF supports this legislation as general dentists are the first line of defense against oral cancer. The disease can be detected in its early stages during routine dental visits. Dentists play a major role increasing the oral cancer survival rate. In 2021 an estimated 54,000 new oral cancer cases in the US are expected to be diagnosed. General dentists can help to improve the survival rate if patients are willing to be screened by their dentists. It begins with public education and awareness campaigns which this new legislation, when passed, will provide the resources to enhance.
The AGD Foundation’s primary focus is oral cancer awareness, risk factor prevention and diagnostic training for general dentists. The organization aims to improve the oral health of the public and support the efforts of the general dentist and AGD. The AGD Foundation provides mini grants to community partners and works directly with general dentists throughout the year to support screenings and campaigns to build awareness.
“We believe the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act will make great strides towards improving oral cancer awareness and preventions through its direct emphasis on promoting awareness of HPV vaccines and HPV-related cancers,” said Bruce Cassis, DDS, MAGD, AGD President. “AGD and the AGD Foundation are committed to working with Congress, the public, and other stakeholders in the fight against oral cancer.”
In addition, this legislation will reauthorize and enhance Johanna’s Law, an existing CDC program to prevent and increase awareness of all HPV-associated cancers.
AGD looks for support to strengthen our profession’s role and AGD’s contribution in the fight against oral cancer. Individuals and organizations can make an impact by getting involved and donating to the AGD Foundation today.