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Oral squamous cell carcinoma and cultural risk factors in patients at Benh Vien Ung Buou Oncology Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Priebe, Sherry L.


Introduction: In South-Central Asia, 80 per cent of head and neck cancers are found in the oral cavity and oropharynx. The objectives of the study were to explore the structure of oral health care in Vietnam (oral health awareness, patient referral pathways and follow up), to examine the patterns of oral squamous cell carcinoma and its risk indicators and estimate the time trend in prevalence of risk habits in southern Vietnamese patients. Material and Methods: A retrospective clinical study was performed with a data collection from July 1, 2005 to April 1, 2006 at the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Oncology hospital in Vietnam. Of 161 cases, 147 subjects were diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), including 100 male and 47 female adults aged 24 to 85 years. A structured interview included self reported data of demographic data and cultural risk habits such as tobacco, alcohol and betel quid use and their amount, type and frequency, tooth brushing frequency and reason for the last dental visit. The clinicopathological assessment of the oral cancerous lesion evaluated the type, size, location and severity of the lesion. Results: Over 40 per cent of the women with OSCC reported chewing betel quid and the most prevalent risk habit in males was smoking (91.0%). Daily alcohol use was reported by 79.0 per cent of males and 2.1 per cent of females. Two thirds of the cases of OSCC were diagnosed at the TNM 2nd and 3rd stages of cancer (tumour size and spread throughout the body). The more advanced stages of cancer were observed in males. The prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use in males with OSCC was higher in the present study than in previous studies. Discussion: High prevalence of cultural risk habits of cancer in both genders was reported in OSCC Vietnamese patients at the Oncology hospital. An increased tobacco and alcohol use was observed in male OSCC patients when compared to past studies. Cancer was diagnosed at earlier stages in the present study than in past studies.

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