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Br Dent J. 2015 May 8;218(9):537-41. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2015.343.

Why don't dentists talk to patients about oral cancer?

Author information

1
Unit of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Division of Population and Patient Health, King's College London Dental Institute, Caldecot Road, London, SE5 9RW.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Up to half of oral cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced lesions. One route to early diagnosis could involve dentists raising awareness of oral cancer through discussions with patients, emphasising prompt help-seeking. This study explores opinions and practices of dentists regarding discussing oral cancer with patients including views on barriers and facilitators.

DESIGN:

Qualitative in-depth interviews.Setting Dentists working in general dental practices in the United Kingdom were interviewed in 2013.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

In-depth interviews with dentists (n = 16) were conducted. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data was analysed using framework analysis.

RESULTS:

Dentists recognised the importance of raising awareness but identified several barriers to discussions including system factors (for example, time constraints and a lack of financial incentive), patient factors (for example, fear of invoking undue anxiety) and dentist factors (for example, a lack of sufficient knowledge, training and self-confidence). Facilitators included developing practice standards and good dentist-patient relationships.

CONCLUSION:

Identified barriers may hold back efforts to raise awareness of oral cancer and could be targeted in future initiatives to encourage early detection.

PMID:
25952436
DOI:
10.1038/sj.bdj.2015.343
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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