DIAGNOSTIC DELAY FOR ORAL MALIGNANT AND PREMALIGNANT DISORDERS IN PATIENTS PRESENTING WITH CLINICALLY EVIDENT ORAL MUCOSAL LESIONS
This study was done to assess patients’ opinion about the diagnostic delay of suspicious oral lesions they were presented with in the Out-patient Department. To estimate the time between the discovery of lesions and seek professional help, visit a healthcare professional, and referral being issued and time between referral and appointment with a specialist for clinically evident oral malignant and premalignant disorders.
A longitudinal cross-sectional study was conducted at Fatima Jinnah Dental College and Hospital, Karachi. The sample size of 384 was calculated using OpenEpi software. The study duration was 2 years from January 2019 to December 2020. The convenience sampling technique was used. Ethical approval was taken from the Institution’s Ethical Review Committee. A 16-items questionnaire was designed to collect study data.
Study data revealed that 57.7% patients used over the counter medication or applied home-based remedies to treat the oral lesions. Around 28.8% of patients were negligent of any changes in the oral cavity and the lesion was diagnosed incidentally when the oral examination was performed for other dental treatment. 96.6% of patients were satisfied with the advice provided by their referring dental practitioner and most (84.7%) agreed to act on their referral immediately. However, 15.2% of patients still delayed their specialist appointment > than one month.
Patients understand that all forms of oral lesions require professional dental care for the better treatment.
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