Conhecimentos e atitudes dos médicos dentistas na prevenção e diagnóstico precoce do cancro oral

  • Maria Miguel Gomes Silva (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Introduction: Oral cancer is defined as a group of malignant neoplasms that
encompass the head and neck region. Recent global statistics reported 377,713 new cases and 177,757 deaths from oral cancer in 2020 worldwide. Dentists must be alert to all signs and symptoms in order to make a correct diagnosis and prevent patients from being diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. In addition to detecting the disease, dentists also play an important role in rehabilitation, alleviating the side effects of cancer therapy. Objectives: To determine the knowledge of dentists regarding the early diagnosis of potentially
malignant lesions and oral cancer, as well as to analyze their attitudes and practices for the prevention of this pathology. Materials and methods: The sample consisted of dentists who answered an online questionnaire distributed by email or other digital platforms between December 2022 and February 2023. The data collection instrument, adapted from the questionnaires of Dib (2003)
and Horowitz (2000), was divided into 4 groups: I- Personal characterization of the oral health professional; II- Oral cancer and potentially malignant lesions; III- Clinical practice of oral cancer diagnosis; IV- Personal opinion. After data collection, data were coded and entered into SPSS where all descriptive and inferential statistical treatment was performed. Results: 102 dentists participated in the study. Although most health professionals correctly recognized the gender most affected by the pathology as well as the most common oral cancer, only 22.5% could identify the sites with greater potential for malignancy. Most
dentists evaluate the mucous membranes, tongue, palate, mouth floor and retromolar region in the intraoral examination. However, of these, not all perform palpation of the lymph nodes of the head and neck region. Less than half of the clinicians have ever performed a biopsy during their professional activity, for this reason most of the respondents do not feel comfortable in performing this task. Only 4.9% of the dentists consider that they have very good skills in diagnosing lesions with malignant potential or oral cancer. It is still not unanimous that this profession is preponderant in the prevention and detection of oral cancer. Conclusion: Although the results obtained in this study were not completely disappointing, we found some gaps that can be improved, particularly regarding the clinicians' knowledge about lesions with malignant potential. Thus, it is crucial to invest in education and training in this area in order to raise awareness and halt the evolution of this pathology.
Date of Award25 Jul 2023
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPatrícia Couto (Supervisor), Tiago Marques (Co-Supervisor) & Nélio Jorge Veiga (Co-Supervisor)


  • Oral cancer
  • Potentially malignant lesions
  • Risk factors
  • Dentists
  • Early diagnosis


  • Mestrado em Medicina Dentária

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