Although several studies have reported the direct cost of oral cancer (OC), little research has invested the factors that could influence the costs of OC patient. This study analyzes the epidemiological characteristics and the direct cost of OC. More specifically, the study examines the relationship between patients' medical costs and influencing factors of epidemiology. All patients encountered from January 2007 to December 2007 at the School of Stomatology of the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU) in China with diagnosis of oral cancer have been selected. Medical hospitalization days (MHD) and cost per patient (CPP) of the samples have been calculated for different patient groups, and the results have been compared using statistical methods. A total of 456 oral cancer patients have been selected in this study. The epidemical characteristics are as follows: female/male 176/280; squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)/adenocarcinoma/sarcoma/lymphoma/other types 246/127/40/27/16; stage I/II/III/IV 90/148/103/115; smoker/non-smoker 136/320; rural/urban patients 82/374. Of all the patients, 82.24% were over 40 years of age. Rural patients were significantly younger than urban patients. SCC was the majority histology in older patients, while sarcoma was more common in younger patients. 372 of the patients received treatment and 84 gave up any treatment after diagnosis. Treatment cost accounted for majority of the payment. The CPP and MHD of patients in late clinical stage were higher than that of patient in early stage. Gender, smoking habit and age older than 40 years are the epidemiological risk factors for oral cancer. Lack of medicare, smoking habit, late clinical stage and SCC are the high economic factors for patient medical cost.
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