Published online Aug 20, 2015. doi: 10.5321/wjs.v4.i3.115
Peer-review started: January 27, 2015
First decision: April 10, 2015
Revised: May 10, 2015
Accepted: August 16, 2015
Article in press: August 17, 2015
Published online: August 20, 2015
Oral cancer is the sixth most common malignancy with almost 500000 new cases reported worldwide annually. The diagnosis of oral cancer at an early stage has a good prognosis as the survival rate is high (around 80%). However, the majority of oral cancer cases are diagnosed at a later stage with a considerably poor 5-year survival rate of 50% according to World Health Organization statistics. Thus, an effective management strategy for oral cancer will depend on its early identification and intervention which would pave the way for superior prognosis. Despite the obvious advantage of earlier diagnosis of oral cancer, no approach has yet proven to be a reliably successful in diagnosis of oral cancer at an early stage. Currently; the primary line of screening of oral cancer is performed by visual inspection, which is a subjective examination. Among the screening tests or diagnostic aids now available for oral cancer, few (toluidine blue, brush biopsy, salivary and serum bio-markers) have been utilised and studied for many years while others have recently become commercially available. The authors in the present article review all the modalities of screening aids used in oral cancer detection and provide an update on the latest screening tools used in oral cancer detection.
Core tip: The overall 5-year survival rates for oral cancer have remained low (50%) for the past decades and are considered among the worst of all cancer death rates. Despite the obvious advantage of earlier diagnosis of oral cancer, no approach has yet proven to be a reliably successful in diagnosis of oral cancer at an early stage. Currently, the primary line of screening of oral cancer is performed by subjective visual inspection. Recent advancements in oral cancer research have led to the development of potentially useful diagnostic tools at the clinical and molecular level for early detection of oral cancer.