Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7383.282 (Published 01 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:282

Oral care for patients with cancer needs more than lip service

  1. Vinod K Joshi (v.k.joshi@rdoc.org.uk), consultant in restorative dentistry
  1. Oral and Facial Specialties, Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield WF1 4DG
  2. Tata Memorial Hospital, EB Road, Parel, Mumbai 400 012, India

    EDITOR—I had hoped to see a mention of the need for oral care for patients with cancer in the review article by Sanderson et al on squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, but I was again disappointed.1 Patients with head and neck cancers must receive a dental assessment and oral care before and after their treatment to ensure minimisation of oral complications for an improved quality of life. The clinical guidelines published by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2000 state that a clear pathway of care is necessary to prevent or minimise oral complications.2

    However, many patients with cancer still receive no proper dental assessment or preventive treatment to minimise or avert the known and common oral complications of radiation treatment. This may be due, in part, to the lack of resources …

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