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Prev Med. 2019 Jul;124:117-123. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.03.034.

Oral cancer examinations and lesion discovery as reported by U.S. general dentists: Findings from the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

Author information

1
Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14620, United States of America. Electronic address: wp9@nyu.edu.
2
Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, United States of America. Electronic address: dem5@nyu.edu.
3
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Medicine, New York University College of Dentistry, United States of America. Electronic address: ark3@nyu.edu.
4
University of Florida College of Dentistry, Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science, United States of America. Electronic address: stomar@dental.ufl.edu.
5
Department of Restorative Dental Science, Division of Prosthodontics, University of Florida College of Dentistry, United States of America. Electronic address: maguilar@dental.ufl.edu.
6
Westat, United States of America. Electronic address: bobharris@westat.com.
7
Private Practice, Doylestown, PA, United States of America. Electronic address: lstone@drlarrystone.com.
8
Department of Clinical and Community Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Population Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States of America. Electronic address: smakhija@uab.edu.
9
Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Illinois College of Dentistry, United States of America. Electronic address: kaste@uic.edu.
10
Private Practice, Plano, TX, United States of America.
11
Evidence Based Care and Oral Health Research, United States of America. Electronic address: Dan.J.Pihlstrom@kp.org.
12
Department of Oral Health Sciences, University of Washington, United States of America. Electronic address: emaster@uw.edu.
13
Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, United States of America. Electronic address: cyril_meyerowitz@urmc.rochester.edu.

Abstract

General dentists (GDs) have the opportunity to examine their patients for oral premalignancy/malignancy. We estimated the annualized per dentist number of oral lesions suspicious for premalignancy/malignancy discovered by United States (U.S.) general dentists and the annualized per dentist number of histologically-confirmed cancers subsequently diagnosed. Eligible participants were licensed, clinically-active U.S. GDs who were members of the U.S. National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. An a priori sample size of 900 was determined; 2000 GDs were invited to participate; 1,073 completed the study. Self-reported, cross-sectional data were obtained via an online questionnaire during 4/12/2017-8/31/2017 and analyzed. The reported numbers of suspicious oral lesions and histologically-confirmed oral cancer cases diagnosed over the previous six months were quantified. Potential outcome predictors were evaluated as covariates in multivariable analyses. Crude and adjusted statistics were produced by regressing each outcome on each independent variable while assuming a Poisson distribution, log link and utilizing robust standard errors. Eighty-seven percent of dentists reported discovering 1+ lesion suspicious for oral premalignancy/malignancy during the preceding six months. The mean number of suspicious lesions/dentist/year was 9.5; adjusted mean: 9.6. Fifteen percent of participants reported discovering 1+ lesion confirmed as cancer during the same period, 213 confirmed cancer cases/6 months or 426/year. Crude and adjusted mean numbers of histologically-confirmed oral cancers were both 0.4 cancers/dentist/year. Our findings suggest that many U.S. general dentists are actively identifying oral lesions suspicious for premalignancy/malignancy, thereby aiding in the discovery of oral malignancies and representing an important component in the frontline against cancer.

KEYWORDS:

General practitioners; Oral cancer; Prevalence; Screening

PMID:
31122615
PMCID:
PMC6540813
[Available on 2020-07-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.03.034

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