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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 92-93

Tackling the delay: A unified approach

1 Department of General Pathology, GITAM Dental College and Hospital, Gandhinagar Campus, Rushikonda, Vishakapatanam, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Oral Pathology, and Microbiology, Institute of Dental Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Web Publication3-Feb-2016

Correspondence Address:
Samapika Routray
Department of Oral Pathology, and Microbiology, Institute of Dental Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.175582

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How to cite this article:
Viswanath V, Routray S. Tackling the delay: A unified approach. Indian J Cancer 2015;52:92-3

How to cite this URL:
Viswanath V, Routray S. Tackling the delay: A unified approach. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 May 17];52:92-3. Available from:


Oral cancer presents itself as a menacing problem in both the developed and developing countries. Although emphasis on early diagnosis has been suggested with the help of oral screening, the new detector being oral self-examination, [1] its presentation is huge especially, in Asian countries. This is mainly attributed to low socio-economic status and lack of awareness. Literature review has shown mixed results to screening and educational programs in oral cancer. In a recent study by Elango et al. in Kerala (an Indian state with the highest literacy rate (93.9%) and a high incidence of oral cancer), it has been observed that oral education and screening programs have definitely created awareness about oral cancer.[2] Despite this, there is a hesitancy to seek treatment probably because the symptoms are considered trivial and thus, not associated with the disease. In addition, there is a fear attached with a diagnosis of cancer and loss of income too. Patients in the study, done by Rogers et al. in Liverpool, felt that though there was no barrier to access a doctor or a dentist, they considered their own symptoms insignificant and transient and did not associate it with cancer. In their opinion, they felt that the best way to self-referral earlier was through improved self-awareness of the disease; and lack of knowledge was the biggest limiting factor to treatment in oral cancer.[3] An observation by McGurk et al. states that only public education is not entirely beneficial as there are advanced tumors, which present very silently without symptoms.[4]

Looking at the current scenario in the developing countries, especially India, with its low socio-economic status and highest incidence of oral cancer; we suggest that there is a need for a multipronged approach from various sections of society to create awareness about the symptoms without causing alarm. These include the medical, paramedical and student community along with the government and non-government organizations with specific roles to play [Figure 1]. Attributing importance to the self-examination of the oral cavity is a re-emerging concept; its implementation across the hierarchy of medical professionals, including doctors and paramedical staff, holds equal importance. Creating awareness about the disease should step up through the community from the government, as well as non-government organization.
Figure 1: Proposed approach for early diagnosis in oral cancer

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“As the eyes don't see what the mind doesn't know,” we should try to implement the approaches suggested and focus on the awareness of symptoms related to this disease.[5]

  References Top

Sarode SC, Sarode GS, Karmarkar S. Early detection of oral cancer: Detector lies within. Oral Oncol 2012;48:193-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Elango KJ, Anandkrishnan N, Suresh A, Iyer SK, Ramaiyer SK, Kuriakose MA. Mouth self-examination to improve oral cancer awareness and early detection in a high-risk population. Oral Oncol 2011;47:620-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rogers SN, Vedpathak SV, Lowe D. Reasons for delayed presentation in oral and oropharyngeal cancer: The patients perspective. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2011;49:349-53.  Back to cited text no. 3
McGurk M, Chan C, Jones J, O'regan E, Sherriff M. Delay in diagnosis and its effect on outcome in head and neck cancer. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2005;43:281-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Petersen PE. Strengthening the prevention of oral cancer: The WHO perspective. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2005;33:397-9.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]

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