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Assessing confidence in the understanding and management of oral cancer among medical and dental undergraduates at a UK university


Introduction Oral cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world and associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Appropriate and early diagnosis of the condition is associated with improved patient outcomes, and an improvement in five-year survival rates.

Aims We aim to ascertain if dental and medical students have similar amounts of self-confidence in the understanding and management of oral cancer within a large UK university.

Methods We invited 65 final-year dental students and 101 final-year medical students to undertake our study, with 50 dental students and 59 medical students opting to participate.

Results We found final-year dental students to feel significantly more confident in their understanding and management of oral cancer when compared to their medical counterparts.

Conclusions Medical students may benefit from additional teaching on oral cancer. Additionally, they should be encouraged to briefly screen the oral cavity of individuals who are at high-risk of the disease.

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Correspondence to Ross M. Keat.

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Keat, R., Makwana, M., Powell, H. et al. Assessing confidence in the understanding and management of oral cancer among medical and dental undergraduates at a UK university. Br Dent J 227, 153–157 (2019).

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