Is detecting oral cancer in general dental practices a realistic expectation? A population-based study using population linked data in Scotland

Article metrics

Key Points

  • Informs general dental practitioners that despite increasing rates of oral cancer, it is still a relatively low-volume disease in Scotland.

  • Highlights the need for early detection strategies in dental practices to recognise the rarity of the disease, as well as the importance of improving access and uptake of primary dental care services.

  • Demonstrates that a large proportion of those diagnosed with oral cancer did not have regular contact with GDPs.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    International Agency for Research on Cancer. World Cancer Report. 2014. Lyon: IARC Press. Available at https://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-online/wcr/2003/WorldCancerReport.pdf (accessed 27 July 2017).

  2. 2

    Purkayastha M, McMahon A D, Gibson J, Conway D I . Trends of oral cavity, oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer incidence in Scotland (1975–2012) – A socioeconomic perspective. Oral Oncol 2016; 61: 70–75.

  3. 3

    Louie K S, Mehanna H, Sasieni P . Trends in head and neck cancers in England from 1995 to 2011 and projections up to 2025. Oral Oncol 2015; 51: 341–348.

  4. 4

    Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Diagnosis and management of head and neck cancer: SIGN Guideline [90]. 2006. Edinburgh: Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Available at https://www.uhb.nhs.uk/Downloads/pdf/CancerPbDiagnosisHeadAndNeckCancer.pdf (accessed 16 March 2018).

  5. 5

    General Dental Council. The GDC's recommended CPD topics. Available at https://www.gdc-uk.org/professionals/cpd/cpd-topics (accessed 16 March 2018).

  6. 6

    Evans S . Dentist failed to spot oral cancer, GDC told. Dentistry 2012. Available at https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2012/06/22/dentist-failed-spot-oral-cancer-gdc-told/ (accessed 16 March 2018).

  7. 7

    Speight P M, Palmer S, Moles D R et al. The cost-effectiveness of screening for oral cancer in primary care. Southampton: NIHR Journal Library, 2006. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK62316/ (accessed 18 August 2017).

  8. 8

    Lim K, Moles D, Downer M, Speight P . Opportunistic screening for oral cancer and precancer in general dental practice: results of a demonstration study. Br Dent J 2003; 194: 497–502.

  9. 9

    Speight P M, Epstein J, Kujan O et al. Screening for oral cancer—a perspective from the Global Oral Cancer Forum. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol 2017; 123: 680–687.

  10. 10

    Yusof Z M, Netuveli G, Ramli A, Sheiham A . Is opportunistic oral cancer screening by dentists feasible? An analysis of the patterns of dental attendance of a nationally representative sample over 10 years. Oral Health Prev Dent 2006; 4: 165–171.

  11. 11

    Netuveli G, Sheiham A, Watt R G . Does the 'inverse screening law' apply to oral cancer screening and regular dental check-ups? J Med Screen 2006; 13: 47–50.

  12. 12

    Feltbower R, Lewis I, Picton S et al. Diagnosing childhood cancer in primary care – a realistic expectation? Br J Cancer 2004; 90: 1882–1884.

  13. 13

    McCarthy A . Talking about mouth cancer is important. Cancer Research UK, 2016. Available at http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2016/11/25/talking-about-mouth-cancer-is-important/ (accessed 16 July 2017).

  14. 14

    Ogden G R, Scully C, Warnakulasuriya S, Speight P . Oral cancer: Two cancer cases in a career? Br Dent J 2015; 218: 439.

  15. 15

    Donnelly R R . Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation: 2009 General Report. Edinburgh, UK: Office of the Chief Statistician (The Scottish Government).

  16. 16

    ISD Scotland. NHS Scotland Workforce Information – Quarterly update of Staff in Post, Vacancies and Turnover at 31 March 2016. Information Services Division, NHS Scotland, 2016. Available at https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/Publications/2016-06-07/2016-06-07-Workforce-Report.pdf (accessed 19 June 2017).

  17. 17

    Audit Scotland. Health inequalities in Scotland. Audit Scotland, 2012. Available at http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/health/2012/nr_121213_health_inequalities.pdf (accessed 23 September 2016).

  18. 18

    ISD Scotland. Dental Statistics – NHS Registration and Participation. Information Services Division, NHS Scotland, 2016. Available at https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Dental-Care/Publications/2016-01-26/2016-01-26-Dental-Report.pdf (accessed 23 March 2017).

  19. 19

    Girdler N M, Smith D G . Prevalence of emergency events in British dental practice and emergency management skills of British dentists. Resuscitation 1999; 41: 159–167.

  20. 20

    Fast T B, Martin M D, Ellis T M . Emergency preparedness: a survey of dental practitioners. J Am Dent Assoc 1986; 112: 499–501.

  21. 21

    Chapman P J . Medical emergencies in dental practice and choice of emergency drugs and equipment: A survey of Australian dentists. Aust Dent J 1997; 42: 103–108.

  22. 22

    NHS Scotland. Scottish Cancer Referral Guidelines - Head and Neck Cancer. NHS Scotland, 2016. Available at http://www.cancerreferral.scot.nhs.uk/head-and-neck-cancers (accessed 22 March 2017).

  23. 23

    Brewster D, Crichton J, Muir C . How accurate are Scottish cancer registration data? Br J Cancer 1994; 70: 954–959.

  24. 24

    Brewster D H, Stockton D, Harvey J, Mackay M . Reliability of cancer registration data in Scotland, 1997. Eur J Cancer 2002; 38: 414–417.

  25. 25

    Brewster D H, Crichton J, Harvey J C, Dawson G . Completeness of case ascertainment in a Scottish regional cancer registry for the year 1992. Public Health 1997; 111: 339–343.

  26. 26

    NHS Education for Scotland. Dental Workforce Report. NHS Education for Scotland, 2012. Available: http://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/media/1554871/dental-workforce-report-2012-final.pdf (accessed 22 September 2017).

  27. 27

    NHS Education for Scotland. An analysis of dental workforce in Scotland. NHS Education for Scotland, 2008. Available at http://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/education-and-training/by-discipline/dentistry/dental-directorate/resources/publications/an-analysis-of-dental-workforce-in-scotland.aspx (accessed 18 September 2016).

  28. 28

    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: Head and neck cancers – recognition and referral. NICE, 2015. Available at https://cks.nice.org.uk/head-and-neck-cancers-recognition-and-referral#!scenario (accessed 27 June 2017).

  29. 29

    Langton S, Siau D, Bankhead C . Two-week rule in head and neck cancer 2000–2014: a systematic review. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2016; 54: 120–131.

  30. 30

    Gómez I, Warnakulasuriya S, Varela-Centelles P I et al. Is early diagnosis of oral cancer a feasible objective? Who is to blame for diagnostic delay? Oral Dis 2010; 16: 333–342.

  31. 31

    Mercer S W, Watt G C M . The Inverse Care Law: Clinical Primary Care Encounters in Deprived and Affluent Areas of Scotland. Ann Fam Med 2007; 5: 503–510.

  32. 32

    Güneri P, Epstein J B . Late stage diagnosis of oral cancer: Components and possible solutions. Oral Oncol 2014; 50: 1131–1136.

Download references

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank David Brewster, Director of Scottish Cancer Registry, and Mark McCartney at eDRIS for facilitating data access and NHS Education for Scotland for funding this study.

Author information

Correspondence to D. I. Conway.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Further reading