UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Oral cancer and dysplasia trends among South Asians in British Columbia : lesion sites, risk habits, and access to care. Lavallee, Jade


Objectives: While oral cancer is one of the most common malignancies across the globe, the vast majority of cases arise in South Asian countries. Currently in British Columbia, nearly 10% of the population is of South Asian ethnicity. Evidence suggests that risk factors within this population play a significant role in oral cancer incidence and clinical presentation. As a significant subgroup, it is crucial to gain insight into the trends of oral precancerous and cancerous lesions in this population. This thesis aims to explore differences in oral cancer, dysplasia and hyperplasia between South Asians and the general population, as well as differences in anatomical lesion sites and access to care. This thesis also examines biopsy activity by dental practitioners across the province. Methods: Data from the British Columbia Oral Biopsy Service (OBS) and the British Columbia Cancer Registry (BCCR) were used to identify cases of squamous cell carcinoma, carcinoma in situ, dysplasia, and hyperplasia in the oral cavity in British Columbia in 2007 and 2013. Name recognition software programs were utilized to determine ethnicity. Results: Oral cancer, dysplasia, and hyperplasia trends vary between South Asians and the general population. There are more cases among South Asian males than males in the general population. South Asian cases are diagnosed at younger ages than in the general population, with a mean age at diagnosis below the age of sixty years. While common lesion sites among South Asians include the gingiva and buccal mucosa, these lesion sites are common within the general population as well. The number of biopsies received by the OBS increased by 36% from 2007 to 2013. The number of dental practitioners performing biopsies also increased, as well as the overall number of South Asian cases seen in the OBS. Conclusion: Results from this thesis provide current information regarding trends and risk factors for hyperplasias, dysplasias, and oral cancers in the South Asian population in BC. These findings, along with spatial analysis of biopsy trends, provide a basis for tailored screening programs and oral cancer prevention initiatives in British Columbia.

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