Risk Assesment for Oral Cancer Prevention in the Community

Even in countries with the best survival rates, 40-50 per cent of patients with cancer of the mouth (oral cancers) do not survive five years beyond diagnosis and treatment. Late diagnosis plays a major role in this high mortality rate because oral lesions at high risk of progressing to cancer are often difficult to differentiate from lesions that are a result of trauma or infection. Denise Laronde is examining two components central to the development of an effective oral cancer screening program. She is identifying and validating tools that can be used by dental professionals to help identify which oral lesions require follow-up. She is also designing and implementing a pilot education program for dental professionals to help train them in the use of these devices. Transferring this new technology to the community may result in earlier identification of high-risk lesions, and increasing the potential for earlier treatment and ultimately, improved long-term survival.