Competency of dental students to detect lesions suspicious for oral cancer and oral potentially malignant disorders

Kamis Gaballah, Fatma Sabry Mahmoud, Eynas Albalkhi, Omar Kujan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to assess the ability of dental students to identify, describe, classify/diagnose and report oral mucosal lesions particularly those with suspicious for malignancy. Retrospective analysis of mucosal lesions reported by students during their routine dental examination and treatment was undertaken. The analysis involved classification of the reported lesions, sites of the reported lesions, the accuracy of lesion's description, the accuracy of diagnosis and the capability of the students to recognize features suggestive of malignancy. 350 dental year 4-undergraduate students reported 843 lesions, over a period of 10 months. Around one-fifth of the reported lesions (n=181) were oral potentially malignant disorders. On clinical evaluation, students suspected 76% of these cases to be of malignant nature. The reported lesions were mainly related to color change (53.4%), followed by consistency changes (e.g., lumps), and visually noted changes on the surfaces of the tongue. Students reached an optimal diagnosis in more than half of the cases (59%). However, most of the students (57%) failed to provide the minimum expected standard for describing reported lesions. Dental students showed good capability to identify, and report various changes in the oral mucosa, including most lesions with malignant potential. This exercise may serve as a model for students training towards competency in the early detection of oral cancer and oral potentially malignant disorders. Offering dental students' feedback in the form of immediate remediation is warranted to improve their clinical diagnostic skills in recognizing changes suggestive of malignant transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of International Dental and Medical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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