New report suggests that junior doctors in Ireland lack the knowledge to carry out oral cancer checks
A new report has suggested that junior doctors in Ireland lack the knowledge to carry out oral cancer checks.
A new study found that over 80 percent of junior doctors in Ireland failed to conduct basic oral cancer tests and a similar percentage admitted that they weren’t confident about diagnosing oral cancer based on clinical signs.
Around 25 percent of doctors interviewed for the study said that they would only conduct an examination in patients who were at high risk of developing oral cancer and only 14 percent said that they believed they had sufficient skills and experience to make a diagnosis. More than 80 percent expressed an interest in further education to increase their knowledge and awareness of mouth cancer.
The findings of the study have been published in the Irish Medical Journal. Oral cancer is becoming increasingly common in Ireland, with around 233 new cases every year. According to the National Cancer Registry, oral cancer is now the 10th most common type of cancer in Ireland.
Although mouth cancer has become more prevalent, many people are still unaware of the symptoms and the vast majority of cases are diagnosed at a late stage when treatment is less likely to be successful.
Consultant Claire Healy, one of the authors of the report, said that it was very important for hospital doctors to be aware of the symptoms and signs of mouth cancer and added that some doctors clearly lacked the knowledge and experience to be confident about checking for oral cancer and making a diagnosis. There is also a worry that doctors are classing oral cancer as something, which is a dentist’s domain. A two-pronged approach, which sees dentists and doctors working together, would be preferable.
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