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This essay investigates the literature available on the connection between HPV and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas in the US. It establishes the whether the experimental design was clearly described and if the possible influences on the findings have been identified and controls instituted. These together with other questions answered below form the basis of this essay.

Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell carcinoma

When was the work published?

The article was published on 30th March, 2012 following updates on information and figures on the original version that published were online from July 29 until August 1, 2011 which contained errors (Lowy, 2010).

What are the main points of the article?

The main points discussed in this article include the evidence regarding the epidemiology of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancers, differences in human papillomavirus prevalence between cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx and the available human papillomavirus vaccines and the implications of these for dentistry (Vidal, 2008).

Are the qualifications of the authors appropriate?

The authors' qualifications are appropriate and hence they are eligible to write and discuss about the topic of the article. Dr. Cleveland is a dental officer and epidemiologist; Dr. Junger is a dental public health resident; Dr. Saraiya is a medical epidemiologist; Dr. Markowitz is a medical epidemiologist; Dr. Dunne is a medical epidemiologist and Dr. Epstein is a professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry; a professor, Department of Otolaryngology—Head and neck Surgery, College of Medicine; and a professor, Cancer Center, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Is the purpose clearly stated?

The purpose of the article is well outlined. The article discusses the implications of the relationship between human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas to dentistry in the United States of America (Lowy, 2010).

Is the experimental design clearly described?

The experimental design is well described. Human papillomavirus infection can be identified through several experimental measures, including detection of human papillomavirus DNA in biopsy specimens, of human papillomavirus DNA in oral specimens and of serum antibodies to HPV proteins.

Have the possible influences on the findings been identified and controls instituted?

The possible implications on the research findings have been identified. However, no necessary controls have been put in place to fully address these implications. The article only gives suggested recommendations to dental healthcare personnel. For instance, since there is little information on the visual and tactile screening examinations in identifying oropharyngeal cancers, dental healthcare personnel need to be alert to patients’ oral or written indications of oropharyngeal cancer symptoms, such as sore throat, hoarseness, earaches and enlarged lymph nodes. Although standardized screening tests for early detection of precancerous and uterine cervical cancer, no tests have been approved for the detection oral HPV infections (Lowy, 2010).

Has the sample been appropriately selected (if applicable)?

The sample data and information selected for the illustration is appropriate. Figure 3 shows a chart of the yearly incidence counts of human papillomavirus associated cancers in the United States, 2003-2007 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has been discussed under the epidemiological characteristics of human papillomavirus. Figures A and B on the other hand also clearly illustrate pedunculated lesion clinically consistent with verruca vulgaris (wart) and Endoscopic view of human papilloma virus–positive squamous cell carcinoma of the palatine tonsil respectively (Vidal, 2008).

Has the reliability and validity of the article been assessed?

The reliability and validity of this article has been reviewed following corrections which have been made to the previous article published online from July 29 until August 1, 2011 which contained errors. That version of the article was removed on August 1 below is the corrected version (Lowy, 2010).

Is the experimental therapy compared appropriately to the control therapy?

The experimental therapy and control therapy have not been appropriately compared as the authors have failed to discuss them. This is due to the ineffectiveness of the HPV vaccines because most cancers have long latent periods so it would take a long time to establish their effect (Lowy, 2010).

Is the investigation of sufficient duration?

The length of time between the publication of the article and the time when the research was done is insufficient. The research data analysis illustrated in Figure 3 indicates an investigation that was done from 2003 to 2007, exactly half a decade. However, most cancers have long latent periods hence research information on vaccines and their implications would be inadequate.

Is the statistical analysis appropriate to answer the research questions or hypotheses?

The statistical analysis is inadequate and hence inappropriate to answer the research questions. This is so because the duration of research is insufficient as most cancers take long latent periods and vaccines almost a decade to show their effectiveness (Lowy, 2010).

Have the research questions or hypothesis been answered?

The article discusses most of the main points of the topic which have to a big extent attempted to find answers to the research hypothesis. By explaining the epidemiology of various HPV-associated cancers, discussing the differences in HPV prevalence between cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx and expounding on the available vaccines, the article has given implications of all the above to dentistry including recommendations to dental healthcare personnel (Vidal, 2008).

Do the interpretations and conclusion logically follow the experimental finding?

The conclusion highlights everything discussed in the article. These have also been supported by sample statistical data and information included in the article. For example, “molecular and epidemiologic evidence suggest a strong etiologic association of HPV with a large proportion of oropharyngeal cancers but seldom with cancers of the oral cavity in the United States”. This phrase (interpretation) quoted in the conclusion is well illustrated by the chart in Figure 3 and equally discussed in the preceding paragraphs (Lowy, 2010).

Do you agree or disagree with the article and findings? Why?

I do agree with the article and findings because the topic is well discussed. It establishes a clear relationship between human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal squamous cell cancers. This is well explained and also illustrated by data analyses of samples collected from credible sources (Vidal, 2008).

What would you change in the article? Why/ Think outside of the box. What would you add or delete?

The article lacks sufficient statistical information to support the arguments. I would include more research findings that have been done over a long period of time since cancers have very long latencies.

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