Source: British Dental Journal 205, 586 (2008)
A research group at the University of Sheffield are inviting dentists to participate in a study investigating how general dental practitioners working in primary care screen and refer suspicious oral soft tissue lesions.
Professor Paul Speight, Dr Sarah Baker and Paul Brocklehurst from the School of Clinical Dentistry in Sheffield are investigating the cues or factors which GDPs take into account when deciding whether or not to refer a lesion to secondary care. The information will be used to prepare guidelines which may result in more rapid referral of appropriate lesions.
Oral cancer affects almost 4,500 Britons every year and 50% of these will die of their disease. The team say that the main reason for this high mortality is that many patients present to secondary care with large lesions, when it is already too late to initiate curative treatment. There are many reasons for delay in presentation, but one possible reason is that lesions are not identified and referred to hospital specialists.
Colleagues are invited to participate in this study by completing a short web-based questionnaire, which comprises ten clinical cases histories. The task is to decide which of the lesions practitioners would refer and to record the factors that influenced the decision.
Full details of the project and access to the questionnaire can be found on http://www.oralcancerscreening.com.