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Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology

Print version ISSN 1808-8694


SANTOS, Luiz Carlos Oliveira dos; BATISTA, Olívio de Medeiros  and  CANGUSSU, Maria Cristina Teixeira. Characterization of oral cancer diagnostic delay in the state of Alagoas. Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. (Impr.) [online]. 2010, vol.76, n.4, pp.416-422. ISSN 1808-8694.

Oral cancer in Brazil still presents high levels of incidence and mortality bearing different traits throughout the national territory. In most of the cases the diagnosis is late; however there is a great possibility for cure when treated early on. AIM: to assess factors associated with the late diagnosis of oral cancer in the state of Alagoas. MATERIAL AND METHODS: a prospective cross-sectional study was carried out in 74 patients, all of them diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma in a hospital of Alagoas, between July of 2007 and September of 2008. A semi-structured interview was given, obtaining socio-demographic data, the type of professional help sought, symptom onset, referrals and tumor clinical stage at the moment of diagnosis. RESULTS: According to the results obtained in this study, the patients usually sought professional medical help, rather than dental help when a lesion in the mouth appeared, being always referred to a specialist by the dentist, in advanced stages of the disease. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests the need for continued education programs for the population and professionals aiming at the early identification of symptoms of the illness; however needing further studies.

Keywords : diagnostic services; epidemiology; mouth neoplasms.

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