Pre-Radiotherapy Dental Assessment of Head and Neck Oncology Patients: An Audit.

Neil Markey, Simon Killough, Gerald McKenna

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Approximately 300 people are diagnosed with Head and Neck cancer annually in Northern Ireland. The management may include treatment by surgery or by chemotherapy and radiotherapy,
or a combination of modalities. Patients whose oral cavity, teeth, salivary glands and jaws that
will be affected by treatment, particularly radiotherapy should have a pre-treatment assessment. This should be done as early as possible to maximise the time available for dental management. However, this can be challenging owing to the complexities of cancer diagnosis, treatment planning and multidisciplinary management. At the Belfast Dental Hospital, a number of patients were referred post- radiotherapy with complications after not having received a pre-treatment assessment. The referrals for pre- treatment dental assessment were also late in patients’ multidisciplinary journey, limiting the time period
for dental input. The purpose of this audit was to examine the time period between dental assessment and commencement of radiotherapy and whether this was an adequate time frame for dental management. This audit will also examine the dental diseases present and the treatments required pre-radiotherapy. Methods: Data for this audit was collected over 4 months in 2012
by analysing the dental charts and referrals of new patients who were referred to and attended the dental head and neck oncology clinic. A standardised referral pro-forma was introduced from September 2013 to improve the referral process.
A re-audit was conducted over 4 months in 2014. Data was collected similarly as previous. The time period between dental assessment and commencement of radiotherapy was examined. The presence of dental disease and subsequent treatments required were also noted.
Results: 63 new patients were examined in the dental head and neck oncology clinic over 4 months in 2012. 48 (76.2%) were examined pre-radiotherapy. The average length of time between dental assessment and radiotherapy commencement was 11 days. A new standardised referral pro-forma was introduced in 2013. In the re-audit, 65 new patients were seen over 4 months in 2014.
60 (92.3%) patients were examined pre-radiotherapy. The average length of time between dental assessment and radiotherapy commencement was 18 days.
Conclusion: Given the high prevalence of pre-existing dental disease amongst head and neck cancer patients, prompt dental assessment and treatment is vital. Efforts aimed at improving the care pathway are on-going through the implementation of a mandatory referral pro-forma and a dedicated assessment clinic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2015
EventEuropean College of Gerodontology Annual Meeting - Titanic, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 01 Oct 201503 Oct 2015

Conference

ConferenceEuropean College of Gerodontology Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period01/10/201503/10/2015

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