The Effectiveness of Population Mass Screening to Oral Cancer: A Simulation Study

Chiu Wen Su, William Wang Yu Su, Sam Li Sheng Chen, Tony Hsiu Hsi Chen, Tsui Hsia Hsu, Mu Kuan Chen, Amy Ming Fang Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Mass screening of high-risk populations for oral cancer has proven to be effective in reducing oral cancer mortality. However, the magnitude of the effectiveness of the various screening scenarios has rarely been addressed. Methods: We developed a simulation algorithm for a prospective cohort under various oral cancer screening scenarios. A hypothetical cohort of 8 million participants aged ≥30 years with cigaret smoking and/or betel quid chewing habits was constructed based on parameters extracted from studies on oral cancer screening. The results of a population-based screening program in Taiwan and a randomized controlled trial in India were used to validate the fitness; then, the effectiveness of the model was determined by changing the screening parameters. Results: There was a reduction in the risk of advanced oral cancer by 40% (relative risk [RR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI]:0.59-0.62) and oral cancer mortality by 29% (RR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.69-0.73) at the 6-year follow-up in a screening scenario similar to the biennial screening in Taiwan, with a 55.1% attendance rate and 92.6% referral rate. The incremental effect in reducing advanced oral cancer was approximately 5% with a short 1-year screening frequency, and the corresponding reduction in mortality was, on average, 6.5%. The incremental reduction in advanced oral cancer per 10% increase in the compliance rate was 3% to 4%, while only 1% to 2% reduction was noted per 10% increase in the referral rate. The effectiveness of screening in reducing advanced oral cancer was 5% to 6% less when both betel quid chewing and alcohol drinking habits were present. Conclusion: Our computer simulation model demonstrated the effect of screening on the reduction in oral cancer mortality under various scenarios. The results provide screening policymakers with the necessary guidance to implement screening programs to save lives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • computer simulation
  • effect
  • mortality
  • oral cancer
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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