Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Br J Cancer. 1997;76(3):390-4.

Reproducibility and validity of oral visual inspection by trained health workers in the detection of oral precancer and cancer.

Author information

  • 1Regional Cancer Centre, Medical College Campus, Kerala, India.


A randomized intervention trial is in progress in Kerala, India, to evaluate the effectiveness of oral visual inspection by trained health workers (HWs) in the prevention of oral cancer. Fourteen health workers with college graduation as the basic qualification were trained in oral visual inspection to identify oral cancers and precancers among the participants of the screening trial and to refer them for further confirmation and management. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the reproducibility and validity of the screening test provided by the health worker against the reference oral visual findings of three physicians. A total of 2069 subjects who had already been examined were re-examined by the health workers and physicians. The sensitivity and the specificity of the oral visual inspection were 94.3% and 99.3% respectively. There was moderate agreement between the findings of the initial and the repeat mouth examinations carried out by the health workers, which were on average 6 months apart. There was almost perfect agreement (kappa = 0.85) between the findings of the health workers and the physicians in identifying the different types of oral precancerous lesions. The findings of our study indicate that it is possible to train resource persons to perform the oral cancer screening test as accurately as doctors, although experience appears to be a crucial component of health workers' accuracy. The efficacy of such an approach to reduce the incidence of and mortality from oral cancer, however, remains to be proven.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center