Patient and Diagnostic Intervals in Oral Cancer

Protocol for a Sequential Explanatory Study

  • Phinse Mappalakayil Philip Malabar Cancer Centre, India
  • Srinivasan Kannan Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, India
Keywords: Early cancer diagnosis, Oral cancer, Patient interval, Diagnostic interval, Aarhus Statement


Oral cancer is an important public health problem in Southeast Asian countries. Generally, cases are reported in advanced stages, resulting in prolonged treatment, high financial burden, and poor prognosis. When diagnosed early, treatment is simple and inexpensive. A sequential explanatory study design, cross-sectional survey followed by in-depth interviews, will be used to assess various factors contributing to the patient and diagnostic intervals in oral cancer. At the outset, Data collection tools will be developed and validated. The study protocol is designed as per the "Aarhus statement" for early diagnosis research. In-depth interviews with selected stakeholders and review of documents related to cancer control will constitute the explanatory component of the study design. Primary prevention helps in reducing cancer incidence whereas secondary prevention helps in reducing morbidity and mortality. Early diagnosis is a key secondary prevention strategy. Research on early diagnosis of cancer in general and oral cancer, in particular, is scarce. In this regard, a comprehensive and thorough evaluation of various factors facilitates or impede early oral cancer symptom presentation will help in designing policies and programs to promote early diagnosis of oral cancer.

Study Protocols