Author(s): McDowell JD
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Abstract Understanding the epidemiologic picture and the risk factors for oral cancer can help identify and treat patients at risk for oral cancers. Early diagnosis of an oral cancer continues to be important to achieving a favorable prognosis. Absent a diagnosis of oral/pharyngeal cancer, there clearly can-lot be an effective treatment plan. Discovering a potentially malignant or malignant lesion and through biopsy reaching a diagnosis for the lesion begins by performing an examination with the purpose of detecting oral/pharyngeal lesions. An oral cancer screening can be performed in less than five minutes without any expensive diagnostic aids. Despite the ease with which this exam can be performed and the noninvasive nature of the examination,most patients report that they have never had an oral cancer examination. Late stage diagnosis continues to be a common situation resulting in high rates of morbidity and mortality. Without early recognition it seems that the trend of late stage diagnosis will continue. Physicians, dentists, and other health care providers should be performing the oral cancer screening examination on a routine basis for all of their patients.Note: For the interested clinician, the author highly recommends an excellent comprehensive text on the subject of oral cancer. Sol Silverman's(with multiple contributors) The American Cancer Society's Atlas of Clinical Oncology Oral Cancer: Fifth Edition by BC Decker Publishers is an excellent overview of oral cancer covering in greater detail many of the subjects that could not be covered in this brief article. Additionally, there are excellent color photographs of the common presentations of oral malignancies that can be helpful in assessing oral/pharyngeal lesions.
This article was published in Otolaryngol Clin North Am
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis