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Vol. 70, No. 5
ISSN: 1488-2159
May 2004


Cancer-Related Oral Health Care Services and Resources: A Survey of Oral and Dental Care in Canadian Cancer Centres


• Joel B. Epstein, DMD, MSD, FRCD(C) •
• Ira R. Parker, DDS, MA, MPH •
• Matthew S. Epstein, •
• Peter Stevenson-Moore, BDS, MRCD(C) •

A b s t r a c t

Purpose: Prevention and management of oral complications of cancer and cancer therapy will improve oral function and quality of life, and reduce morbidity and the cost of care. Oral assessment, and oral and dental care have been strongly recommended before cancer therapy and should be continued during and after cancer therapy. The purpose of this survey was to assess the resources available for oral care in Canadian cancer centres.

Methods: Provincial cancer centres were assessed by questionnaire to determine the resources available for oral care in these facilities.

Results: Wide variability in oral and dental care of patients with cancer across Canada and a lack of documented standards of care were reported. Very few cancer centres had institutionally supported dental staff to support the oral care of patients with cancer, and few had dental treatment capability on site. The majority of centres managed oral care needs in the community with the patient's prior dentist.

Conclusions: We recommend that national guidelines be developed for medically necessary oral and dental care for patients with cancer.


MeSH Key Words: antineoplastic agents/adverse effects; Canada; comprehensive dental care; health resources; mouth neoplasms
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