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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


MARTINS, Julie Silvia et al. Strategies and results of the oral cancer prevention campaign among the elderly in São Paulo, Brazil, 2001 to 2009. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.3, pp.246-252. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the strategies and results obtained by the early diagnosis and prevention of an oral cancer campaign targeting the population aged 60 years or older developed since 2001 in the state of São Paulo. METHODS: The main strategies used to develop the campaign were described based on the review of documents issued by the Health Ministry, National Cancer Institute, São Paulo State Health Department, Oncocentro Foundation of São Paulo, São Paulo City Health Department, School of Public Health at the University of São Paulo (USP), and Santa Marcelina Health Care Center. The impact of the campaign on the incidence of new cases of oral cancer in the target population was evaluated. RESULTS: In 2001, 90 886 elderly were examined vs. 629 613 in 2009. The following strategies were identified: training of professionals, development of printed materials to guide municipal governments in developing the campaign and using standardized codes and criteria, guidelines for data consolidation, establishment of patient referral flows, practical training with a specialist at the basic health care unit after the follow-up examination of individuals presenting changes in soft tissues, and increase in the number of oral diagnosis services. Between 2005 and 2009, there was a significant reduction in the rate of confirmed cases of oral cancer per 100 000 individuals examined, from 20.89 to 11.12 (P = 0.00003). CONCLUSIONS: The campaign was beneficial to the oral health of the elderly and could be extended to include other age groups and regions of the country. It may also provide a basis for the development of oral cancer prevention actions in other countries, as long as local characteristics are taken into account.

Keywords : Oral health; mouth neoplasms; health public policy; mass screening; Brazil.

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