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2019 World Oral Health Day – HKU dental professor reveals regular dental checkups help prevent mouth cancer
Mouth cancer is the deadliest oral disease. Despite advances in surgical and radiotherapy treatment, half of the patients die within five years of diagnosis. Even following initial successful treatment, prognosis is compromised by the late presentation of advanced tumours and widespread multi-focal cancer disease throughout the mouth.
To mark the 2019 World Oral Health Day on March 20, Wednesday, researchers at the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Unit, Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) shares the latest trend and figures of mouth cancer to raise public awareness and knowledge of this lethal disease.
Professor Peter Thomson, Clinical Professor in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery HKU Faculty of Dentistry said: “In the 21st Century, the incidence of mouth cancer is reaching epidemic proportions with 300,000 new cases detected globally every year, including 40,000 in China alone. Statistics from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry showed a rising trend of mouth cancer in Hong Kong with a 70% increase from 394 cases in 1996 to nearly 700 cases in 2016.” (Figure 1)
Principally a squamous carcinoma arising from the mucosal lining of the oral cavity, most tumours in the mouth pass through a stage of ‘pre-cancer’ which can be identified during standard oral examination by dentists. This offers important opportunities for intervention and curative treatment, while the transformation of normal mouth lining into cancer is poorly understood.
However, according to the 2014 data source of Census and Statistics Department, less than half of Hong Kong people had dental check-ups regularly. Fewer than 37% of those in the high risk group aged 45 or above visited their dentists regularly. (Figure 2).
“Mouth cancer patients are often diagnosed only when the disease is advanced and incurable,” Professor Thomson added. He said early suspicious signs of cancer or pre-cancer change include non-healing mouth ulcers, red and white mucosal patches and unexplained swellings within the mouth or in the neck, which can be easily detected by a dental professional.
The strategies that prevention really is better than cure when it comes to halting the progress of this life-threatening oral disorder are confirmed in Professor Thomson’s new book “Oral Cancer – From Prevention to Intervention “.
The HKU Oral Oncology Research Group led by Professor Thomson will continue to work to improve understanding of the cause and development of mouth cancer, to identify the population in Hong Kong most at risk, and to apply effective primary, secondary and tertiary preventive strategies to target disease at the earliest possible stage, and to facilitate minimal interventional treatment.
Research team members
Professor Peter Thomson, Clinical Professor in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, HKU Faculty of Dentistry
Professor Peter Thomson is the Clinical Professor and Head of the Discipline of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong. A UK and Australian specialist in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Medicine, Professor Thomson has researched extensively into the prevention and early diagnosis of mouth cancer, and pioneered interventional management techniques to treat potentially malignant ‘pre-cancer’ disease. He has published and presented over 250 research papers in oral cancer and is an internationally recognised authority on the causes and development of oral cancer.
Dr Choi Siu Wai, Research Associate of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, HKU Faculty of Dentistry
Dr Choi Siu Wai is a Research Associate of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong. She trained as a biochemist in the UK and specialises in the search for biomarkers which signals early disease and can aid in early diagnosis. She has published over 80 research papers on her research interests of chronic disease and statistics in medicine.
Journal article 'Oral cancer in Hong Kong: identifying and managing the "high-risk" population' by Peter Thomson, Richard Su, Siu-Wai Choi
 
Media enquiry:
Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong
Ms Eva Tang, External Relations Manager (Tel: 2859 0494 / Email: epytang@hku.hk)
Communications and Public Affairs Office, The University of Hong Kong
Ms Melanie Wan (Tel: 2859 2600 / Email: melwkwan@hku.hk)
 
新聞稿
2019世界口腔健康日 - 港大牙醫學者指出定期牙科檢查可有效預防口腔癌
口腔癌是致命的疾病,儘管外科手術及放射治療取得了進展,仍有半數患者在確診後5年内去世。即使初期腫瘤治療成功率高,但晚期腫瘤症狀的延遲出現及整個口腔廣泛的多灶性癌病都會影響病情的預後。
香港大學牙醫學院口腔頜面外科專家希望藉2019年3月20日(星期三)的世界口腔健康日,與大眾分享口腔癌最新發展趨勢和有關數據,提高大眾對口腔癌的關注及認識。
香港大學牙醫學院口腔頜面外科臨床教授湯迅教授(Professor Peter Thomson)表示:「在21世紀,口腔癌的發病率正達到流行病的程度,全球每年新增病例約300,000宗,單在中國就有40,000宗。根據香港癌症資料統計中心的數字顯示,本港口腔癌病患者數目正不斷上升,由1996年394人確診至2016年增至接近700人,增幅高達70%。(圖一)
口腔癌主要由口腔黏膜的鱗狀細胞癌引起,醫學界對正常口腔黏膜如何演變成口腔癌仍然所知甚少,然而大多數口腔腫瘤都會經過「癌症前期」階段,牙醫可以通過標準口腔檢查分辨出來,這為干預和治療方案提供了重要機會。
根據政府統計處2014年的數據顯示,少過半數的香港人有定期接受牙科檢查;而年齡在45歲或以上之高危族當中,更少於37%的人有定期檢查口腔。(圖二)
「口腔癌病患者前來就診時大多已是晚期口腔癌,難以治癒。」湯迅教授續說。他指出口腔癌症或癌前病變的早期病徵,包括經久不癒的口腔潰瘍、紅白色的粘膜斑塊和口腔或頸部原因不明的腫脹,這些病徵均可透過牙科檢查發現。
湯迅教授在其出版的新書 “Oral Cancer – From Prevention to Intervention” 中指出,預防確實比治療是對付口腔癌更有效和重要的策略。
香港大學牙醫學院口腔腫瘤研究小組在湯迅教授的領導下,將繼續致力提高大眾對口腔癌成因及發展的認識、識別出香港的最高危人群,以及研究如何針對口腔癌,盡早應用有效的初級、次級和三級預防策略,作最低程度的介入性治療。
研究團隊
湯迅教授之簡歷
湯迅教授Peter Thomson 是香港大學牙醫學院口腔及頜面外科臨床教授兼口腔及頜面外科主管。湯迅教授是英國和澳洲口腔及頜面外科和口腔內科專家,他對口腔癌的預防和早期診斷進行了廣泛的研究,並率先採用干預治療技術來醫治潛在的惡性“癌症前期”疾病。 他發表了超過250篇口腔癌研究論文,是國際公認在口腔癌病因和發展上的權威。
蔡小慧博士之簡歷
蔡小慧博士是香港大學牙醫學院口腔及頜面外科副研究員。她曾在英國接受過生物化學家培訓,專門尋找生物標記,這些生物標記可以發出早期疾病的信號,從而助於早期診斷。在她深感興趣的慢性病和醫學統計學上已發表了超過80篇的研究論文。
Peter Thomson, Richard Su, Siu-Wai Choi 發表的學術文章:'Oral cancer in Hong Kong: identifying and managing the "high-risk" population'
 
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Copyright© 2019. Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong. All rights reserved.