Does Your Physician Perform a Head and Neck Exam?

Alnumairi, Rafal, Madona Aoun, Mariam Klait, Jessica Rodriguez, and Rula Yousif

Routine head and neck exams have been largely neglected by physicians due to examination time constraints.  Studies suggest that physicians should be the primary person to perform a routine head and neck exam. Primary care physicians are well suited to provide head and neck examinations and screen for the presence of suspicious oral lesions. It is important that healthcare providers apply what they know about prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer to reduce morbidity and mortality. We solicited physician participation from six major hospitals and local family practices in the Wayne County area. One of the hospitals agreed to allow our surveys to be distributed. A total of 450 surveys were distributed and a low response rate of 2.25% (nine responses) did not allow us to make conclusions about physician’s attitudes and knowledge regarding head and neck cancer detection. In addition, we hand distributed 99 surveys to patients from the University of Detroit Mercy-School of Dentistry to further evaluate the factors that contribute to the failure of performing a head and neck exam. A high response rate of 100% (99 responses) helped us verify our hypothesis.