Theresa Gonzales, DMD, MS, MSS
Subject: Oral Pathology
Primary Audience(s): Hygienist
Additional Audience(s): Dentist, EFDA/Dental Assistant, Front Office, Lab Tech
CE Credits: 1.5
While some think oral cancer is rare, this cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 132 new individuals each day in the U.S. alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. The oropharynx is one of the most common sites of head and neck cancer in the country. It is estimated that 11,000-13,000 new cases of oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The vast majority of these tumors are squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer which arises from squamous epithelial cells which line the upper aerodigestive tract. Males are more than four times as likely as females to develop oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), with an overall annual risk of 6.2 cases per 100,000 men compared to 1.4 cases per 100,000 women. Incidence in the U.S. is highest among white and black men, and lower among Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
Despite decreasing rates of tobacco and alcohol use, the rates of oropharyngeal cancer have trended steadily upward for the last decade. This is primarily due to the increase in cancers related to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The time lag between an oral HPV infection and the development of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer is estimated to be between 15 and 30 years. Unfortunately, at this time, the majority are found as late-stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages and etiologies combined at time of diagnosis), and high treatment-related morbidity in survivors. This course is designed to review the pathophysiology of oropharyngeal cancer and emerging trends in cancer management.
- Identify the most common etiologies of oral cancer and its incidence within the population locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
- Review the basic histology of the oral mucosa and the changes that occur with potentially malignant and malignant lesions and their patterns of occurrence and persistence.
- Review current treatment recommendations and clinical outcomes.
Dr. Gonzales currently serves as the Executive Director of the American College of Dentists. In 2013, she retired from the United States Army Dental Corps after a long and distinguished career in active federal service to this Nation.
Dr. Gonzales has earned Fellowship status with the American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, and the Academy of General Dentistry. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and the American Board of Orofacial Pain. She holds Diplomate status as well as with the American Board of Forensic Examiners and the American Board of Forensic Medicine. Shr. Gonzales’s diverse professional background includes tours as staff assigned to Oral Surgery, Hanau, Germany, Force Dental Surgeon, Multinational Peace Keeping Force in El Gorah, Egypt as well as Chief, of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
Dr. Gonzales has authored over seventy-five scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and was the recipient of the International College of Dentists Award for Excellence in Research. She has received the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Surgeon General’s A designator for clinical excellence. She graduated with distinction from the United States Army War College in 2008. Theresa is also a Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina- James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine.