Oral cancer: screening and early diagnosis Silvio Abati and Alessandra Lissoni
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University – Milano
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a lethal disease, that if left untreated, dental professionals can encounter in their professional activity.
Although not usually directly involved in the specific therapeutic phase, the role of the dentist and the dental hygienist is fundamental in the prevention of mouth cancer in it’s initial interception and in the control of discomfort resulting from oncological therapies.
It is extremely relevant to acquire adequate knowledge regarding epidemiology, etiology, natural history, clinical manifestations, therapeutic and rehabilitative techniques and principles and methods useful for the early diagnosis and prevention of oral cancer. Despite advances in medicine, in recent decades, the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis has not changed significantly.
Even with the adoption of the most modern combined therapeutic strategies, the overall average survival of oral cancer patients is not more than sixty percent.
It has not improved significantly, unlike what has been observed for other malignant tumors.
The recent Covid pandemic has reduced the chances of access to health facilities and healthcare professionals, causing delays in the diagnosis and early treatment of this dreaded oral disease.
Epidemiological data show that early diagnosis of oral cancer is crucial to improving patient survival and reducing mortality.