In one of the first national surveys of dental hygienists about their knowledge and screening practices for oral cancers, researchers at Case Western Reserve Universitys School of Dental Medicine found indications that while dental hygienists view screening for oral cancer an important component of their practice and possess comparable oral cancer knowledge with the general dentist in the private practice, they often do not carry out oral cancer screenings.
Oral cancer impacts people. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 28,900 people were diagnosed in 2002 with oral cancers and 7,400 people would died as result of their disease.
The overall five-year survival rate was 56 percent.
The Case surveys of dental hygienists and dentists coincide with American Dental Association efforts to raise awareness of oral cancer and increase cancer screenings by professionals in the dental field. Also the importance of the research findings will help Case rewrite the Case School of Dental Medicines dental curriculum, which is currently under revision as the dental school strives to train the dentist for the 21st century.
The research group encourages people to be proactive in their oral health care by suggesting that if an oral-cancer screening examination is not done with our routine dental care, then ask your dentist or dental hygienist to do one.
"After all, early diagnosis offers the best chance for cure," stressed Sawyer.
Susan Griffith | EurekAlert!
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