Delayed diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma following dental treatment

Thasvir Singh, Michael E Schenberg

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) can present with a wide range of clinical appearances. Consequently, an oral SCC, particularly in its early stage, may not be considered suspicious by a clinician, thereby delaying diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis of an oral SCC could result in more advanced disease at the time of treatment, leading to more extensive and costly treatment, greater morbidity and poorer survival. The aim of this study was to identify cases of oral SCC treated at Southern Heath (Melbourne, Australia) with a history of prediagnosis dental treatment, and to determine the delay between dental treat- ment and appropriate surgical assessment of the oral SCC. METHODS: Patients were identified from the head and neck tumour database at Southern Health who met the inclusion crite- ria and relevant data were recorded. RESULTS: Twelve patients met the inclusion criteria and 83 of cases involved the mandible. Dental extraction was the most common prediagnosis treatment performed (75 ). The average delay from dental treatment to surgical assessment was just over eight weeks and all patients were found to have stage IV disease. Most patients had received extensive surgical resections (83 ), neck dissections (75 ) and adjunctive therapy (83 ). CONCLUSIONS: Oral SCC can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, which can result in more extensive treatment and greater morbidity. Health professionals and patients need to be aware that non-healing oral lesions, even after dental treatment such as a dental extraction, need to be considered as suspicious and an appropriate surgical referral should be made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369 - 373
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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