Oral pathology has a definite role to play in the medical field, especially
in the clinical and histological diagnosis of conditions presenting in the
oral cavity. However, oral pathology is already preforming a much wider
function in general medicine - a function which can be extended
still further. It embraces, amongst others, close co-operation with medical
colleagues in the management of genetic diseases, cancer (including
the prevention of cancer and the management of patients already
receiving radio-therapy), the treatment of geriatric patients (the aged),
and work in the field of forensic medicine.
The Department of Oral Pathology is faced with an enormous challenge
in its efforts to limit the number of cases presenting with oral cancer.
This condition is responsible for a notable percentage of cancer deaths
and includes types which drastically shorten the life expectancy of patients.
What makes the situation even more serious is that up to 90%
of oral cancers are closely associated with environmental factors which
can easily be identified and eliminated if only the public were made
more aware of their existance. Moreover, a high percentage of oral
cancers can be successfully treated, provided they are diagnosed at an
In order to reduce the incidence of oral cancer, The Department of Oral
Pathology sees it as its primary task to engender in the public mind an
awareness of oral cancer, and in particular to motivate the "high risk"
patient to assess his own situation.
Several research programmes have already been undertaken in the Department
of Oral Pathology. The goal for the future, in addition to basic
research, is to lay more emphasis on clinical research.
It is hoped that, by doing so, a greater contribution will be made to
both the medical and dental health of the community. Extensive programmes
have already been planned in this connection, such as thorough
clinical testing of materials and medicaments that are used in
Other research programmes planned for the future include work on
specific oral infections, and more particularly an investigation into the
background and causes of oral cancer.