BACKGROUND: In the context of early detection of head and neck cancers (HNC), the aim of this study was to describe how people sought medical consultation during the year prior to diagnosis and the impact on the stage of the cancer. METHODS: Patients over 20 years old with a diagnosis of HNC in 2010 were included from four French cancer registries. The medical data were matched with data regarding uptake of healthcare issued from French National Health Insurance General Regime. RESULTS: In 86.0 % of cases, patients had consulted a general practitioner (GP) and 21.1 % a dentist. Consulting a GP at least once during the year preceding diagnosis was unrelated to Charlson index, age, sex, departement, quintile of deprivation of place of residence. Patients from the 'quite privileged', 'quite underprivileged' and 'underprivileged' quintiles consulted a dentist more frequently than those from the 'very underprivileged' quintile (p=0.007). The stage was less advanced for patients who had consulted a GP (OR=0.42 [0.18-0.99]) - with a dose-response effect. CONCLUSIONS: In view of the frequency of consultations, the existence of a significant association between consultations and a localised stage at diagnosis and the absence of a socio-economic association, early detection of HNC by GPs would seem to be the most appropriate way.
Ligier, K., Dejardin, O., Launay, L., Benoit, E., Babin, E., Bara, S., … Guizard, A. V. (2016). Health professionals and the early detection of head and neck cancers: A population-based study in a high incidence area. BMC Cancer, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2531-7