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Training in the primary prevention and early detection of oral cancer: Pilot study of its impact on clinicians' perceptions and intentions

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January 1, 2009
by Charles W. LeHew, PhD, Joel B. Epstein, DMD, MSD, Anne Koerber, DDS, PhD, and Linda M. Kaste, DDS, PhD


In this pilot study, we tested a new program for training medical care providers in the primary prevention and early detection of oral cancer. The training program consisted of two modules: (1) oral cancer epidemiology and head and neck examinations for the early detection of oral cancer and (2) assessment and counseling of patients in tobacco cessation. On a pretraining questionnaire, the 8 participating clinicians (3 primary care physicians, 4 ENT nurses, and 1 physician assistant) indicated that they had only a limited awareness of oral cancer, that they generally did not routinely examine asymptomatic patients for oral cancer, and that they engaged in only a limited amount of risk assessment/counseling with their patients. On a post-training questionnaire, they indicated that their training had been well received and would prompt them to increase their efforts to examine their patients for early signs of oral cancer and to counsel them about its risks.

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