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October 9, 1996

New Strategies to Fight Oral Cancer

JAMA. 1996;276(14):1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540140009003

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IT MIGHT TAKE only 15 seconds.

A few moments spent examining a patient's oral cavity could aid in the early detection and enhanced treatment of the more than 30 000 cases of oral cancer that will be diagnosed this year in the United States.

In fact, primary care clinicians should conduct routine oral examinations and ask questions about alcohol and tobacco use in patient health risk assessments, according to new recommendations targeting beefed-up efforts to prevent oral and pharyngeal cancers.

"Professional knowledge and behavior is really a key" to the oral cancer prevention and control effort, said Thomas Houston, MD, director of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the American Medical Association.

Houston chaired 1 of 5 working groups that met during a recent national conference designed to produce new prevention strategies. The meeting, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association, and National Institute