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Published: 2021-10-16

The role of the dental surgeon in the early diagnosis of oral cancer: a concise systematic review

University Center North Paulista (Unorp) - Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil / Post graduate and continuing education (Unipos), Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil
University Center North Paulista (Unorp) - Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil / Post graduate and continuing education (Unipos), Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil
University Center North Paulista (Unorp) - Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil / Post graduate and continuing education (Unipos), Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Oral cancer Prevention Early diagnosis Auxiliary techniques


Introduction: Oral cancers (OC) represent more than 90% of cases. It is estimated that more than 400,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year worldwide. OC is preventable as most of the different identified risk factors, such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and betel nut chewing, are behaviors that increase the likelihood of the disease. Surgical biopsy remains the gold standard, but adjunctive tools have been developed to aid diagnoses, such as vital toluidine blue staining and autofluorescence imaging. Objective: To emphasize and present the importance of the dental surgeon in the early diagnosis and prevention of oral cancer. Methods: The survey was conducted from July 2021 to August 2021 and developed based on Scopus, PubMed, Science Direct, Scielo, and Google Scholar, following the rules of Systematic Review-PRISMA. Study quality was based on the GRADE instrument and the risk of bias was analyzed according to the Cochrane instrument. Results: Early detection and treatment of OC were found to be important predictors for improving survival and reducing mortality. A thorough clinical inspection of the oral cavity can detect up to 99% of oral cancers. Other diagnostic types have been developed to help overcome the limits of standard oral clinical examination, highlighting toluidine blue staining, light-based detection techniques, and salivary biomarkers. Self-examination is an effective strategy to reduce the levels of mortality and morbidity caused by this pathology. A gain of 8.09% more in sensitivity and 11.36% more in specificity was observed with the fluorescence test. Conclusion: The findings clearly showed that early diagnosis of oral cancer is essential to increase the chances of cure and survival of patients, avoiding invasive surgical intervention. Currently, there are several diagnostic tools for screening and visual devices for the early detection of oral lesions through auxiliary methods, logically maintaining biopsy as the gold standard.


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How to Cite

Altrão, G., Mendes Filho, A. da R., & Tempest, L. M. (2021). The role of the dental surgeon in the early diagnosis of oral cancer: a concise systematic review. MedNEXT Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 2(5).