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Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Apr;24(2):110-4. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000237.

Early detection of oral cancers: current status and future prospects.

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Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, Kerala, India.



This article reviews the current literature and summarizes the latest developments in screening and early detection of oral cancers and looks at the future possibilities.


Oral cancer is the best model for screening and prevention. The screening for oral cancer can be population based, opportunistic, or targeted. A long-term 15-year follow-up data of a randomized controlled study from a developing country setting indicated a sustained reduction in oral cancer mortality in high-risk individuals. Visual oral examination remains the mainstay in the screening. Several adjunctive techniques have been described to aid in the clinical examination of these lesions. A Cochrane review revealed that there is no evidence to recommend these adjuncts in clinically visible lesions. Salivary biomarkers seem to be promising as a tool for screening in the future. A Targeted Evidence Update for the US Preventive Services Task Force found no evidence on screening either in the general or selected high-risk population for oral cancer in the United States or on benefit of any adjunctive device affecting the performance of the screening examination.


Current evidence shows that community based screening has a value in reducing the oral cancer mortality in high-risk group of population. But this evidence may not be universally applicable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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