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A pilot study to estimate the accuracy of mouth self-examination in an at-risk group.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393 - 1401
Number of pages9
JournalHead & Neck: journal for the sciences and specialities of the head and neck
Issue number10
Early online date9 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

King's Authors


Mouth self-examination (MSE) is a possible method of detecting oral cancer early. This study aimed to determine whether those at risk of developing oral cancer are able to correctly detect potentially malignant oral lesions via MSE.

Participants (53 smokers aged over 45 years) received an oral mucosal examination by the dentist and then performed MSE after education through a self-read leaflet. The dentist and participant both recorded the presence and absence of potentially malignant oral lesions.

The prevalence of potentially malignant oral lesions was 22%. The sensitivity of MSE was 33% and the specificity was 54%. MSE had a positive predictive value of 17% and a negative predictive value of 73%.

The at-risk group were poor at correctly identifying the presence or absence of potentially malignant oral lesions. A leaflet may be an ineffective training tool to aid self-identification of potentially malignant oral lesions. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010

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