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Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2009 Oct;30(8):486-8, 490-4, 496-8 passim; quiz 504, 520.

Oral cancer and precancer: improving outcomes.

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Division of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.


The best way to help improve survival rates of oral cancers is early detection and treatment. Almost 80% of patients with these cancers would have a 5-year survival rate if their disease had been found early. Many factors, such as long-term exposure to certain carcinogens, may heighten the risk. It is paramount that a dental clinician be cognizant of the sometimes subtle and overlooked signs and performs appropriate follow-up care. This article discusses common presentations, clinical aids, treatment, and management, as well as provides a detailed clinical evaluation form. Testing techniques such as chemiluminescent examinations and use of the VELscope can help. Ultimately, the dental practitioner bears responsibility for improving survival rates.

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