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Article: Volume 47 Number 10 Page 793 - November 2020

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  Dent Update 2020; 47: 793-799

Oral medicine:  Mouth Cancer & Risk Factors and Potentially Malignant Disorders

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Abstract: The incidence of mouth cancer in the UK has increased more than 30% during the past decade and the overall 5-year survival remains poor, at approximately 55%. A number of risk factors for mouth cancer has been identified, and all dental professionals should be aware of these, and, where possible, provide intervention. Some cases of mouth cancer arise in a pre-existing mucosal condition, known as an oral potentially malignant disorder (OPMD). Awareness of the presence of an OPMD, or any mucosal changes that fulfil the criteria for urgent suspected cancer (USC) in primary care, should lead to an appropriate referral to specialist services.

Clinical relevance: This paper provides a review of the risk factors for mouth cancer and potentially malignant disorders.

Author notes: Michael Lewis, PhD, FDS RCPS, FDS RCS, FRCPath, FFGDP(UK), FHEA, Professor of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University CF14 4XY, UK.

Objective: The reader should have an awareness of the risk factors for mouth cancer and those oral mucosal abnormalities that have a potential for the development of malignancy. Provision of advice in relation to risk factors, and referral of a patient with changes that suggest the presence mouth of cancer are essential aspects of primary dental care.

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