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Knowledge and Practice of Radiation Stents for Oral Cancer Patients among the Sudanese's Maxillofacial Surgeons, Prosthodontists, Oncologists, and Radiotherapists.

AIM: To assess the knowledge and practice of radiation stents for oral cancer patients among the Sudanese's maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists, oncologists, and radiotherapists in Khartoum state.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire composed of three sections, including the participant's sociodemographic, knowledge, and practice data, was conducted and distributed among the specialists and Registrars of maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics, oncology, and radiotherapy who were working at the Khartoum Teaching Dental Hospital, the Faculty of Dentistry (University of Khartoum), and the Khartoum Oncology Hospital, respectively, during the study's duration. A cluster sampling technique was used, and within the cluster group, simple randomization was used. The sample size was 137 participants. The participant's knowledge and practice scores were calculated as percentages achieved by dividing the numbers of the accurate answers of the participants by the total number of questions and categorized as good (66.6%-100%), average (33.3%-66.6%), and poor (less than 33.3%).

RESULT: The response rate was 80%. Forty five (40.9%) of the respondents were males, and 65 (59.1%) were females. The high-frequency age-group was 30-40 years (59 subjects, 53.6%). Thirty-eight participants (75.5%) were unfamiliar with the radiation stent. The overall knowledge score was poor, with a significant difference between the different groups (p = 0.0001*). Only the prosthodontists reported a good level of knowledge about the radiation stent (73%), while the oncologists and the radiologists showed a zero level of knowledge. Despite this, the practice score of the radiation stent was poor among all groups. The level of knowledge regarding the complications of radiation and the different protective measures among the maxillofacial surgeons, oncologists, and radiotherapists was 55%, 60%, and 50%, respectively, while the prosthodontists reported 70%. Only 27 (24.5%) participants reported a multidisciplinary treatment approach. At the same time, the majority, 59.1%, declared that they do not follow a formal clinical guideline and/or protocol for dental treatment in oral cancer patients. The lack of knowledge and communication between the different health providers were the main barriers preventing the use of radiation stents.

CONCLUSION: The knowledge and practice of the radiation stent were poor. A highlighted need was strengthened to improve the training and communication among the multidisciplinary oral cancer team members, and standard clinical guidelines and protocols need to be conducted and followed to improve patient treatment outcomes.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Radiation stents have a significant role in reducing the complications of radiation therapy. Improving the knowledge and practice of radiation stents will have a substantial influence on the quality of health services provided for the oral cancer patients and their quality of life.

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