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  • P R Brocklehurst
    University of Manchester
  • S.R. Baker
    School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, UK
  • P. M. Speight
    School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, UK

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The diagnosis of early and pre-malignant lesions of oral squamous cell carcinoma is of paramount importance given the mortality rate of late stage disease. Although studies have been undertaken examining how dentists manage and refer potentially malignant lesions, the majority of the research has used questionnaires, with the inherent bias this introduces. The aim of this study was to use qualitative methods to understand in more detail how practitioners manage potentially malignant lesions once they have been discovered.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with eighteen dentists in Sheffield, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Five codes were identified relating to the mechanics of the referral, the management of the lesion and the patient's risk factors. Health promotional activities were not being undertaken by all the participants and for some, explaining positive results and giving advice about alcohol was perceived as particularly difficult.

CONCLUSION: Overall, the present research suggests that further training is required to help dentists broach difficult issues with their patients.


  • Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Early Detection of Cancer, Female, General Practice, Dental, Health Promotion, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Mouth Neoplasms, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Practice Patterns, Dentists', Qualitative Research, Referral and Consultation, Truth Disclosure, Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E4; discussion 74-5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes
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