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Is detecting oral cancer in general dental practices a realistic expectation? A population-based study using population linked data in Scotland

Purkayastha, M; McMahon, AD; Gibson, J; Conway, DI; (2018) Is detecting oral cancer in general dental practices a realistic expectation? A population-based study using population linked data in Scotland. British Dental Journal , 225 (3) pp. 241-246. 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.544. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Despite the increasing burden of oral cancer (OC) – including oral cavity (OCC) and oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) – it remains a relatively low-volume disease in Scotland, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that dentists only see between one and two cases in their practising careers. AIMS: To examine, for the first time on a population-basis via data linkage, whether early detection by general dental practices (GDP) is a realistic expectation by i) estimating the number of OC cases/year a dentist in Scotland may encounter over time, accounting for the deprivation level of practice location and dental registration/attendance rates, and ii) assessing whether patients attended GDPs two years pre-diagnosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Scottish Cancer Registry data on all OC cases (2010-2012), published NHS Scotland dental workforce and registration/participation statistics, and individual patient data linked with NHS dental service activity were analysed. RESULTS: Dentists were estimated to potentially encounter one case of OC every 10 years, OCC every 16.7 years, and OPC every 25 years. However, 53.7% of OC patients had made no dental contact two years pre-diagnosis. CONCLUSION: Strategies for early detection must consider the rarity of OC incidence and poor dental attendance patterns. These results highlight the importance of improving access and uptake of dental services among those at highest risk to increase the opportunities for early detection.

Type: Article
Title: Is detecting oral cancer in general dental practices a realistic expectation? A population-based study using population linked data in Scotland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.544
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.544
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058416
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