Al-Dhahli Z, et al. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J 2020.
OBJECTIVES: The prognosis of head and neck cancer (HNC) depends substantially on disease stage at the time of diagnosis. Unfortunately, the majority of HNC patients present at relatively late stages. In Oman, a national screening campaign was conducted to increase public awareness of HNC and encourage early detection. This study aimed to report the outcomes of that campaign.
METHODS: The campaign took the form of biannual events conducted at a tertiary care centre and in public malls in Muscat, Oman from April 2015 to July 2019. Data were collected from participants using the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance screening form. Otolaryngologists and oral maxillofacial surgeons performed a thorough physical evaluation of the head and neck region.
RESULTS: Of the 1,500 individuals visiting the hospital and malls during the campaign events, a total of 509 agreed to undergo screening (response rate: 33.9%). Of these, 12.8% had positive screening results and 5.9% required further evaluation. However, none of the cases with suspicious findings were found to be malignant after a thorough evaluation. Overall, 16.9% of the participants were aware of the early signs of HNC; in addition, 5.5% knew how to perform an oral self-examination.
CONCLUSION: Screening is a simple and safe method for the prevention and early detection of HNC. Mass screening and public awareness programmes may help to reduce the burden of this disease in Oman.