Are dental providers the next line of HPV-related prevention? Providers’ perceived role and needs

Nolan Kline, Cheryl Vamos, Erika Thompson, Frank Catalanotto, John Petrila, Rita DeBate, Stacey Griner, Coralia Vázquez-Otero, Laura Merrell, Ellen Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The rise in HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer incidence necessitates novel prevention efforts including multiple provider types. Although dental providers screen for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers, little is known about their needs to advance “primordial prevention,” or interventions at the earliest possible stage, to prevent HPV-related cancers. This study assessed dentists’ and dental hygienists’ perceived roles and needs regarding HPV-related primordial prevention. We conducted a mixed-method study with data from focus groups with dentists (n= 33) and dental hygienists (n= 48) and surveys from both provider types (n= 203) among providers from a diverse set of practice settings and geographic communities. Data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis and chi square tests. Participants affirmed dental professionals’ roles in preventing HPV-related cancers and identified needs to overcome barriers to fulfilling prevention objectives. Barriers included: (1) practice environment and patient characteristics, and (2) the sensitive topic of HPV. Further, participants identified needs to improve HPV-related cancer prevention. Findings from this study suggest that dental providers may become the next line of prevention for HPV-related cancers. Dental providers’ professional associations have provided guidance on HPV and oropharyngeal cancers, but our study reveals dental providers’ needs for following professional organizations’ guidance to advance prevention efforts and reduce HPV-related cancer incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
JournalPapillomavirus Research
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Dental providers
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Prevention


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