Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer and is any cancerous tissue growth in the oral cavity. Survival rates for oral cancer is highly improved through early detection and prevention. It is essential that oral health professionals like the Dentists, Dental Hygienist, Dental therapists and Oral Health therapists understand the importance of conducting a thorough oral screening for malignant and potentially malignant lesions as a part of their routine clinical assessment even in younger population considered at lower risk for oral cancer.
Major risk factors being tobacco and alcohol consumption. Others include HPV infection, UV radiation exposure, Environmental infections. Oral health professionals are well placed to screen high risk patients for early signs of oral cancer. Clinicians should obtain an updated medical, social and dental history and perform Intra oral and Extra oral conventional visual and tactile examination in all adult patients. For patients with suspicious lesions clinicians should immediately perform a biopsy of the lesion or refer the patient to a specialist. Innocuous lesions require periodic follow up for any potential malignant disease.
Early Oral Cancer Diagnosis has the potentiality to significantly impact the treatment decisions and outcomes and support routine visual and tactile examinations particularly for patients who are at risk including those who use tobacco and heavy consumption of alcohol. Educational activities to promote Prevention and Early Detection of Oral Cancer for tobacco and alcohol consumption or both to be considered.