Does the Type of Physician Referral Really Matter in Oral Cancer Survival?
Unpacking the Study’s Objective
The study is particularly relevant for medical professionals who often find themselves at the crossroads of referring patients for specialized care.
The Source Article Details
Is There A Difference Between Disease-Free Survival Of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Referred By Dentists Versus Other Physicians? A Systematic Review by Kanza Ghauri et al. in 2023.
The Source Article's Abstract
To compare disease-free survival rates in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients initially attended and referred by dentists versus other physicians.
The systematic review was conducted after registration with the International prospective register of systematic reviews at the University of York, the United Kingdom, and comprised search on Medline, PubMed, Cochrane and CINAHAL Plus databases for studies published up to December 2021.
Of the 344 studies found, 8(2.3%) were analysed in detail. Patients referred by dentists ranged from 22.6% to 54%. Males comprised 53% to 70.3% of the sample. The highest number of referrals was made by primary physicians, ranging from 27.4% to 71.6%. Upto 67.6% cases were diagnosed with stage 1 and 2 oral cancer.
The relative scarcity of studies makes it impossible to draw an association between oral cancer survival rate and type of referral.
Citing the Source Article (APA)
Ghauri, K., Siddiqui, H.K., Khan, F.R. (2023). Is There A Difference Between Disease-Free Survival Of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Referred By Dentists Versus Other Physicians? A Systematic Review. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 73(10), 2036-2040. 10.47391/JPMA.7308
Methodology: A Rigorous Approach
The researchers conducted a comprehensive search across multiple medical databases, adhering to stringent guidelines.
They employed the Population-Intervention-Comparison-Outcomes-Study (PICOS) criteria for selecting relevant studies, ensuring a high level of scrutiny.
- No conclusive evidence supports the idea that dentist referrals lead to better survival rates compared to other physicians.
- The highest 5-year survival rate was 75% in a study where 59% of patients were diagnosed at an early stage.
- Primary physicians made the highest number of referrals.
Implications and Unanswered Questions
The study leaves us with more questions than answers. The lack of sufficient data makes it challenging to draw any concrete conclusions.
However, the study does highlight the need for more targeted research in this area, which could have significant implications for healthcare policy and practice.
PP-ICONS: A Quick Evaluation
- Problem: Oral squamous cell carcinoma
- Population: Varied, with males comprising 53% to 70.3% of the sample
- Intervention: Referral by dentists or other physicians
- Comparison: Disease-free survival rates
- Outcome: No conclusive evidence to support the impact of referral type on survival rates
- Number of Subjects: 344 studies analyzed, 8 in detail
- Statistics: 5-year survival rate up to 75%
So, what do you think? Does the type of physician referral really make a difference in oral cancer survival? Share your thoughts below.