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Oropharyngeal Cancer and HPV: An Emerging Epidemic

Content will provide an overview of: global incidences of oropharyngeal cancer, the role of the HPV 16 virus, key points for patient education, and opportunities for collaboration with other health care professionals. Current research and patient resources to support dental hygienists in their role as patient educators and oral health advocates are discussed.

This content is intended for practicing dental hygienists and qualifies as credit when reporting the MA Board. Please check with your state licensing board to ensure eligibility for credit if you are licensed in a state other than Massachusetts.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the presentation and profile of HPV+ oropharyngeal squamous cell cancers and tell how it differs from HPV- oral cancers.
  • Describe and be able to demonstrate the key components of an external and internal head and neck examination.
  • Discuss the key features of patient education regarding HPV+ and HPV- oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and discuss strategies for opening the dialogue regarding risk reduction.
  • Describe strategies for supporting patients undergoing treatment for oropharyngeal cancer.


Catherine K. Draper, RDH, MS
Catherine K. Draper, RDH, MS is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at Foothill College in the Biological and Health Sciences Division. She practiced clinically for over 40 years in a general, cosmetic and implant practice in Mountain View, California. Cathy has presented continuing education programs across the country and internationally on a variety of topics ranging from the human papilloma virus oropharyngeal cancer, implant maintenance, and infection control. She has been a frequent contributor to a number of publications including two dental hygiene textbooks and is the current managing editor of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. In addition to her years of service to the dental hygiene profession, Cathy has been a library reference associate at the Stanford Hospital Health Library, assisting patients and their families access scientifically based health information since 1994. In 2015, she received the Stanford Healthcare Volunteer of the Year Award and she is the 2020 recipient of the ADHA Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene.



The Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Dental Association. This program will provide 2.75 contact hours of continuing education credit.

Expiration Date: February 8, 2022

Registration Fee: Free to MCPHS Alumni and faculty/adjunct faculty; $12.00 for all other professionals.

Catherine K. Draper, RDH, MS hold no relevant financial relationships with industry.
MCPHS CE Staff members hold no relevant financial relationships with industry.
No funding from industry is provided for this event. No exhibitors will be present