The role of general practice in the diagnosis of oral cancer

Crossman, T. and Warburton, F. and Richards, M.A. and Smith, H. and Ramirez, A.Z. and Forbes, Lindsay J.L. (2016) The role of general practice in the diagnosis of oral cancer. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 54 (2). pp. 208-212. ISSN 0266-4356. E-ISSN 1532-1940. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2015.11.003) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2015.11.003

Abstract

The incidence of oral cancer is increasing in the United Kingdom. There is evidence that early diagnosis and effective treatment improve survival, but the poor 5-year survival rate (50%), which has not improved for several decades, has been attributed to advanced stage at presentation. To investigate the symptoms associated with cancer of the oral cavity and to explore the role of general practitioners (GP) in the identification and referral of patients, we sent 200 patients questionnaires on the route to diagnosis, symptoms, delay in presentation, and outcomes of consultations with their GP. Of 161 respondents, over half (56%) had been referred to secondary care by their GP and a third (32%) by their dentist. The most commonly reported symptoms were a mouth ulcer (32%), a lump in the face or neck (28%), and pain or soreness in the mouth or throat (27%). Fifteen per cent delayed presentation for more than 3 months. After consultation with a GP (n=109), 53% were referred to a specialist, 22% were referred for tests, 12% were told that their symptom was not serious, and 12% were treated for another condition. GPs have an important role in the identification and referral of people with oral cancer, and the clearly recognised symptoms identified in this study can be used to aid assessment and decision-making. Interventions to promote the prompt identification of oral cancer in general practice such as the opportunistic screening of high-risk patients may help to improve the poor survival rates.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Oral cancer; General practice; Primary care; Early diagnosis
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2016 15:47 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 14:08 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53693 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Forbes, Lindsay J.L.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4654-9520
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