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Oral Oncol. 2003 Dec;39(8):781-8.

Factors associated with diagnostic delay of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575, Japan.


Shortening the diagnostic delay from the onset of symptoms to the final diagnosis leads to early cancer detection and a reduced incidence of advanced cases. To analyze factors contributing to delays in the diagnosis of oral cancer, information was collected from the medical charts of 152 consecutive patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma, and factors associated with diagnostic delay were examined retrospectively. No characteristic was significantly associated with delay caused by patients. Referral by a non-initial professional, initial visit to a dentist, T1 cancer, and the presence of an ulcerative lesion were significantly associated with delay caused by the initial professionals. Patients with N0 were significantly associated with diagnostic delay caused by the final professional. These results re-emphasize the important role of the initial professional, particularly the dentist, and the diagnostic difficulty posed by ulcerative lesions and small-sized or early-stage oral cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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