Online Program

Availability of dental oncology services at NCI-designated and comprehensive cancer centers

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ryan Lee, DDS, MPH, MHA, Health Policy & Management, Doctorate Program in Public Health, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY
Nicole Holland, DDS, MS, Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Objective: Dental oncology focuses on prevention and/or management of oral complications before/during/after cancer treatment. Dental oncologists undergo post-graduate residency and/or fellowship training in oncologic dentistry, a field encompassing hospital dentistry, surgery, chemoradiation, and transplant medicine. This study evaluated the status of U.S.-based dental oncology training programs and availability of dental oncology services in NCI-designated and comprehensive cancer centers.

Method: The following databases were searched for dental oncology training programs and/or services in the U.S.: MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase, Google Scholar. The following Internet search engines searched links to dental oncology providers or services: Google, Yahoo, Bing. Reference lists of relevant articles were searched. Identification of relevant studies and quality assessments were conducted independently and in duplicate.

Result: Among 66 NCI-designated cancer centers, only 3% (N=2) had a formal postgraduate residency/fellowship program in dental oncology. Fewer than half had a dental department, while most lacked the services of a postgraduate-trained dental oncologist, even in those hospitals associated with a U.S. dental school. No cancer center websites had links to standardized pre-/post-cancer therapy dental protocols. Most Internet search engine results led to providers without formal oncology training or clinics without NCI affiliation.

Conclusion: Poor oral health is associated with increased incidence and severity of oral complications in cancer patients, necessitating dental services before/during/after treatment. Most NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers lacked postgraduate-trained dental oncologists. Future research is warranted on the assessment of strengths and weaknesses of current delivery models, as well as the development of standardized protocols for the oral management of cancer patients.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the availability of dental oncology services in U.S. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers; Describe dental oncology, a specialty that bridges oncologic dentistry with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, and surgical resection.

Keyword(s): Cancer, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor at New York University, as well as a dental oncologist with postgraduate fellowship training (and certification) from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Among my public health interests (as a DrPH student) has been the evaluation of health outcome disparities, including oral health and oncology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.