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Oncology Research Supporting Your Practice

Literature Review Finds Dentists are Detecting More Cases of Oral Cancer

New research out of the University of Toronto indicates that “dentists in Ontario are detecting more cases of oral cancer and pre-cancer than ever before — and it’s saving lives.”  As with many types of cancer, early detection of oral cancers results in higher survival rates (80% over five years). When cancer is detected at an advanced stage, survival rates drop dramatically (30% over five years).

Dentists play an important role in identifying oral cancers and their precursor lesions in patients. But gaps exist in the availability of comprehensive literature reviews that establish detection trends and oral disease diagnosis.

Led by Dr. Marco A. Magalhaes, the research team of oral pathologists at the U of T’s Toronto Oral Pathology Service (TOPS) in the Faculty of Dentistry “analysed all accessions to the Toronto Oral Pathology Service at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto from 2005 through 2015 using a custom-built database. They used these data to calculate the temporal trends in the diagnoses of oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).”

The Results

  • 63,483 biopsy specimens were submitted
  • 2,679 cases of OED were diagnoses
  • 828 cases of OSCC were diagnoses
  • Results indicate a 3.8-fold increase in the number of epithelial dysplasia from 2005 to 2015
  • Results also indicate a 1.8-fold increase in the mucosal carcinomas from 2005 to 2015

The rate of increase of OED and OSCC was significantly higher than the rate of increase of total oral carcinomas diagnosed in the region, the population changes, and the number of dentists in the region.

Overall, the analysis indicates that dentists are indeed increasingly involved in detecting cancer and malignant disorders. Now, the team is calling for increased awareness and education among dentists and oral healthcare professionals to increase early detection.

Recommended CDA Oasis Resources

Full article text is available on JADA.

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