During Oral Cancer Awareness Month, AANA Emphasizes Access to Safe Dental Anesthesia Care

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) reminds the public that the best prevention of oral cancer is early detection. Also, of critical importance is ensuring patients have access to safe anesthesia care when treatments including surgery are used for oral cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 54,540 new cases of oral or oropharyngeal cancer (cancer that develops in the back of the throat) are estimated in 2023. About 11,580 people will die from these cancers in 2023. Together, these two cancers are the sixth most common type of malignancy worldwide.

During Oral Cancer Awareness Month, AANA Emphasizes Access to Safe Dental Anesthesia Care

Proactive oral health habits, such as regular check-ups with your dentist or healthcare provider, can help ensure that oral cancer is detected at its earliest stages. Once diagnosed, surgery is a common treatment for oral cancer, depending upon where the tumor is, its size and if it has spread. Sometime reconstructive surgery is needed too. This is done to repair the damage caused by taking out the tumor. It can also help restore the way your body works and looks.

Sedation for any oral surgery increases the complexity of care and emphasizes the importance of having sedation and anesthesia provided by an anesthesia professional, such as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), who is focused only on patient safety, monitoring, and vigilance.

“Before you have oral surgery, consult with your cancer care team about your options for anesthesia,” said AANA president Angela Mund, DNP, CRNA. “Patients can count on a CRNA to stay with them throughout their procedure and provide high-quality, patient-centered care.”

“Each patient has a unique response to medications utilized for sedation and anesthesia. As anesthesia experts, CRNAs are available to continuously monitor the patient, and can focus on changes in the patient’s condition and intervene as necessary in emergent situations,” said Mund. “Depending upon the complexity of the oral surgery, it is important to address any concerns patients may have about the anesthesia plan with their anesthesia provider. CRNAs can also help the patient move forward through their treatment of oral cancers.”

CRNAs are highly educated, trained, and qualified anesthesia experts. They provide 50 million anesthetics per year in the United States, working in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered. CRNAs are skilled to provide safe, high-quality, and cost-effective care as members of patient-centered dental care teams in all settings, including dental offices, in accordance with state law. CRNAs have the education and experience to react quickly to emergency situations in oral surgery settings, possessing the expertise to administer the anesthesia and focus solely on the patient’s condition and intervene as necessary if critical events occur during the procedure.

Scroll to Top