Diagnostic Delay in Symptomatic Oral Cancer

  • Pablo Varela-Centelles
  • Juan Seoane
  • María José García-Pola
  • Juan M. Seoane-Romero
  • José Manuel García Martín


About half of the oral cancers have already reached an advanced stage (III or IV) when diagnosed, which influences survival rates (5-year survival, 20% to 50% depending upon tumour sites).

Long time intervals since the beginning of symptoms until definitive diagnosis favour advanced disease stages at diagnosis and a worse prognosis in terms of survival. Some agents seem to have responsibilities in the delay in diagnosis of oral symptomatic cancer, namely, patients, healthcare providers, the health system and the actual tumour. In fact, the symptomatic time period related to the patient appears to be the main difficulty for attaining an early diagnosis. However, and in view of the methodological weaknesses of the existing investigations, this information has to be taken with caution.

Recently, a conceptual framework and guidelines for research (Aarhus statement) have been proposed to produce high-quality studies on early diagnosis. Besides, the usage of the term “diagnostic delay” has been discouraged, and the more accurate “time interval to diagnosis and treatment” has been suggested.


Oral cancer Early diagnosis Diagnostic delay Time intervals Prognosis 



This work has been supported by the research project PI14/01446, belonging to the Spanish National R&D&I Programme 2013–2016 and co-funded by the ISCIII-Subdirección General de Evaluación y Fomento de la Investigación and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo Varela-Centelles
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan Seoane
    • 2
  • María José García-Pola
    • 3
  • Juan M. Seoane-Romero
    • 2
  • José Manuel García Martín
    • 3
  1. 1.CS Praza do Ferrol. EOXI Lugo, Cervo, e Monforte de Lemos, Galician Health ServiceLugoSpain
  2. 2.Stomatology DepartmentSchool of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Santiago de CompostelaA CoruñaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Surgery and Medical-Surgical SpecialtiesSchool of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of OviedoOviedoSpain

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