Oral cancer has been identified as a significant public health threat. It is reported that about 3,800 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in Hungary each year with approximately 1,700 associated deaths. Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in men. Most oral cancers are preventable; 75% of oral cancers are related to tobacco use, alcohol use, or use of both substances together. While there is insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of visual examination as a method of screening for oral cancer in the general population, screening in high-risk populations is highly recommended. It was presumed that high-risk behavior including tobacco and alcohol use is one of the characteristics of Roma people. The main aim of the study was to elaborate a screening model program for the Roma population to determine risk factors of oral cancer and establish early diagnosis hence to reduce morbidity and mortality. In the program we planned to survey the risk factors in the target population, establish the diagnosis of oral cancer and/or pre-cancer and direct the patients to health care facilities. First we determined the target population in four Hungarian towns with the help of Roma social workers and local public health officers. We assembled a questionnaire on risk factors. Training for Roma social workers and screening personnel was also accomplished. Screening for oral precancerous lesions and cancer and survey the risk factors in the target population were performed at the same time. Patients screened to be positive were referred to specialists. Altogether 1,146 persons, 656 male and 490 female (age 20-77 years, mean 40 years), participated in the screening; 84% of them reported on some kind of complaints. We have got valid data on risk factors in connection with oral cancer. More than fifty percent of participants did not clean their teeth regularly, 75% were smokers, while 45% drunk alcohol regularly. 1,6% of screened participants had oral lesions that did not require referral to a specialist, while 2.3% of the screened subjects had referable oral mucosal lesions including leukoplakia. The overwhelming majority (93%) of participants screened to be positive did not see dentist regularly. As a conclusion, we elaborated a screening model program, which is applicable for disadvantaged (e.g. Roma) population to determine risk factors of oral cancer and establish early diagnosis hence to reduce morbidity and mortality. We surveyed the risk factors in the target population, established the diagnosis of oral cancer and/or pre-cancer lesions and directed the patients to care facilities. We also assisted them to get appropriate long-term care and follow-up. The importance of screening activities targeted on high-risk population was underlined.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2007|
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