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Minerva Stomatologica 2020 April;69(2):95-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4970.19.04212-2


lingua: Inglese

Self-perception and physician’s awareness on early detection of tongue cancer: experience of the Oral Medicine Unit of Trieste

Margherita GOBBO , Giulia OTTAVIANI, Katia RUPEL, Valentina ZOI, Roberto DI LENARDA, Matteo BIASOTTO, Augusto POROPAT

Unit of Oral Medicine and Pathology, Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy


BACKGROUND: The objective of this retrospective study was to characterize the outpatient oral medicine referral pattern for tongue lesions with particular emphasis on cancer.
METHODS: Records of patients referred to the Oral Medicine department for any tongue lesions needing biopsy between 2009 and 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. All cases diagnosed as tongue cancer were screened for medical history, referral pattern, treatment/diagnosis/follow-up.
RESULTS: Among 266 patients, 39 were diagnosed with cancer, 43.6% were smokers and 10.3% alcohol consumers, 38.5% felt pain, 53.8% noticed the lesion or felt its presence, 46.2% were referred from another specialist. For people aware or informed of the lesion. the mean time waited before consultation was 7.9 months. In 53.8% of cases, narrow-band-imaging guided the biopsy. In 29 patients, biopsy was performed the day of the visit. Patients were referred from dentists (42.1%), Primary-care-Physician (10.5%), Emergency-Dental-Unit (7.9%), Radiotherapist (7.9%), Otolaryngologist (7.9%), Dermatologist (26%), infectious diseases unit (2.6%), auto-referral in 18.4%. Lesion was defined by referring doctor as “suspicious” (13.1%), white (10.5%), vegentans (5.3%), Lichen-like (5.3%), ulcerative (2.6%), Tumoral (26.3%), Bollous (2.6%). An unweighted Kappa Value of 0.024, assessed low concordance between referral diagnosis and diagnosis performed by the Oral Medicine specialist before the biopsy.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients are not always aware of the risk of oral cancer. Accurate information should be provided to patients as well as to specialists rather than just dentists as regard as the risk factors for oral cancer, the importance of referral to specialized departments and timing. The use of new technologies should be widespread.

KEY WORDS: Tongue neoplasms; Early detection of cancer; Awareness

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