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

Purkayastha, M., McMahon, A. , Gibson, J. and Conway, D.I. (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, pp. 241-246. (doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.544) (PMID:30095121)

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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.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funded by NHS Education for Scotland.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gibson, Professor John and Purkayastha, Mitana and McMahon, Dr Alex and Conway, Professor David
Authors: Purkayastha, M., McMahon, A., Gibson, J., and Conway, D.I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:British Dental Journal
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group for the British Dental Association
ISSN:0007-0610
ISSN (Online):1476-5373
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Springer Nature Limited
First Published:First published in British Dental Journal 225:241-246
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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