Oral and neck examination for early detection of oral cancer--a practical guide.
AffiliationDublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin. firstname.lastname@example.org
MeSHComprehensive Dental Care
Early Detection of Cancer
Head and Neck Neoplasms
MetadataShow full item record
CitationOral and neck examination for early detection of oral cancer--a practical guide., 57 (4):195-9 J Ir Dent Assoc
JournalJournal of the Irish Dental Association
AbstractCancer of the head and neck region presents a challenge since, unlike other areas of the body, the boundaries are not always easy to delineate. The functional morbidity associated with head and neck cancer and its treatment are considerable. Head and neck cancer is described as cancer of the lip, mouth, tongue, tonsil, pharynx (unspecified), salivary gland, hypopharynx, larynx and other. Oral cancer refers to cancers of the lip, tongue, gingivae, floor of the mouth, palate (hard and soft), maxilla, vestibule and retromolar area up to the anterior pillar of the fauces (tonsil). When patients present with oral cancer, over 60% of them have regional (lymph node) and sometimes distant (metastatic) spread. The overall five-year survival rates for oral cancer average at between 50 and 80%, depending on the stage of the disease, varying from 86% for stage I to 12-16% for stage IV. The incidence of 'field cancerisation'/unstable oral epithelium is high (17%), and even after successful treatment our patients need to be monitored for dental care and further disease. Unlike other areas in the body, the oral epithelium is readily accessible for examination and even self-examination. Dentists and dental hygienists are effective clinicians in the examination of the oral cavity for mouth cancer. An oral and neck examination must be part of every dental examination. An examination protocol is suggested here, which is similar to, but more detailed than, the standardised oral examination method recommended by the World Health Organisation, and consistent with those protocols followed by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
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