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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 572-577

Communication, Counseling and Compassionate Care: The least explored and challenging Palliative Care approaches among Primary Care Physicians - Clinical Case series of Oral Potentially malignant disorders in Tamil Nadu

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Praveena Raman
Lemon Dental, #4/3, Krishna Street, Vivekananda Nagar, Nesapakkam, Chennai-600 078
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1502_20

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Background: Globally, the sixth most common malignancy is oral cancer, which is predominantly due to consumption of potent, proven carcinogens which includes smoking and smokeless form of tobacco and areca nut. Habits associated oral malignancies are mostly preceded by clinically asymptomatic oral lesions collectively referred under the umbrella term as oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs). There is a delayed presentation of oral pre cancer and oral cancer in India, as approximately 50% of patients are diagnosed at last stage since the asymptomatic pre cancer lesions are missed by oral physicians/dentists either due to lack of timely communication and habit counseling, lack of knowledge, or inappropriate attitude, putting all in a nut shell --- sheer lack of empathy and commitment towards patient care and society. Early diagnosis greatly increases patient's chances of survival. Patient awareness is much spoken in literature; however, the flip side of the coin lies within the attitude of the primary care physician. They play a pivotal role in effective communication and timely counseling of patients with OPMDs and should prevent malignant transformation to improve quality of life of patients. Poor compliance to attend for oral cancer screening links to the attitude and ignorance of the primary care physician. Palliative care concepts should be integrated to dentistry especially to oral medicine speciality. Clinical Significance: The author believes that the three most important, least explored and challenging palliative care approaches namely, “Communication,” “Counseling,” and “Compassionate care,” should be effectively practiced by a primary care physician, to improve their level of commitment to society and attitude towards patient care which can help in early diagnosis of OPMDs and decreased incidence of oral cancer, thus improving quality of life of patients.

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