Updated guideline: How to evaluate patients for oral cancer
As a dentist, you know what looks normal – and what doesn’t – in your patients’ mouths.
That’s why many cases of oral cancer are caught by dentists who noticed a suspicious lesion during an appointment. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 49,670 new cases of oral cancer this year, with 9,700 deaths from the disease.
A recently published guideline from the ADA offers guidance for dentists on how to check for lesions, how to identify potentially malignant disorders (PMDs) and how to proceed in relevant clinical scenarios.
The guideline is supported by a soon-to-be-released systematic review on the diagnostic test accuracy of commercially-available adjuncts (such as light-based or salivary tests) marketed for the evaluation of PMDs.
In addition to the guideline, the ADA has also produced a chairside guide to walk you through the guideline’s recommendations, along with an instructional video that shows how to perform each step of a conventional visual and tactile exam on a patient.
Ever notice a suspicious lesion during a patient’s exam? There’s also a “For the Patient” article answering frequently asked questions about oral cancer and its signs and symptoms. You can also steer patients to the ADA’s oral cancer resources for patients at MouthHealthy.org. Consider stocking brochures about mouth and throat cancers in your office.
Want to learn more about the causes of oral cancer? Earn a CE credit by taking the online “Oral Cancer: It’s Not Just for Smokers Anymore!” course.