A survey of Scottish primary care dental practitioners' oral cancer-related practices and training requirements

McCann, M.F., Macpherson, L.M. , Binnie, V.I. and Stephen, K.W. (2000) A survey of Scottish primary care dental practitioners' oral cancer-related practices and training requirements. Community Dental Health, 17(1), pp. 24-30.

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OBJECTIVE The study sought to investigate current examination habits and preventive practices of Scottish dental primary care professionals, with respect to oral cancer, and to determine any training needs of these practitioners in relation to the disease. BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 331 general dental practitioners and community dental officers throughout Scotland, achieving an overall response rate of 68%. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The study investigated examination and health promotion practices in relation to oral cancer. Confidence in, and barriers to, participating in these activities were studied, and information sought both on past training and future education needs regarding oral cancer. RESULTS Although 58% of respondents reported examining regularly for signs of oral cancer in those aged >16 years, 63% indicated they felt less than confident in detecting oral cancer, with only 43% expressing confidence about discussing suspicious findings with patients. Practitioners were well aware of the importance of smoking and alcohol as risk factors, but had mixed views on the health-promoting role of the dentist regarding these issues. Furthermore, while only 3% reported training on these topics, over half expressed a desire to develop appropriate counselling skills. Overall, 87% and 79% of respondents wanted further training in oral cancer detection and prevention, respectively. CONCLUSION The study indicated a need for continuing education programmes for dental primary care practitioners in oral cancer-related activities. Postgraduate education, utilising a variety of media formats, should aim to improve diagnostic skills and seek to increase practitioners' participation in both smoking and alcohol counselling.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Binnie, Dr Vivian and Macpherson, Professor Lorna
Authors: McCann, M.F., Macpherson, L.M., Binnie, V.I., and Stephen, K.W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Community Dental Health
Publisher:Dennis Barber

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