Dental Care for Survivors of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer: Special Considerations

Sapna Kaul, Douglas Fair, Jennifer Wright, Anne C. Kirchhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Oral health is important for quality of life, but may be undermanaged for survivors of cancer. We examine dental care use and barriers among long-term survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer in comparison to individuals without a history of cancer. Methods: The 2008-2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) identified 1216 individuals diagnosed with cancer at AYA ages (15-39 years), who were at least 5 years from diagnosis. A comparison group was matched using age, sex, and other factors. We evaluated self-reported dental visits in the previous 12 months, and inability and delay in receiving necessary dental care among survivors and the comparison group. Furthermore, individual factors associated with dental care use were identified using multivariable logistic regressions. Results: Of survivors, 60.86% reported no dental visits in the previous year compared to 51.96% of the comparison individuals (p < 0.001). Survivors were more likely to report inability (10.71% vs. 6.29%, p = 0.001) and delay (8.12% vs. 4.45%, p = 0.001) in getting necessary dental care than the comparison group. Notably, survivors without dental insurance were more likely to report inability and delay. Female survivors were more likely to use dental care than males (odds ratio = 1.76, 95% confidence interval 1.15-2.71, p = 0.01). Hispanic survivors, those diagnosed at younger ages, and uninsured survivors were less likely to have at least one dental visit. Conclusion: Survivors of AYA cancer need timely surveillance to manage late effects, including dental complications. Yet, these survivors, particularly those who are uninsured, delay dental care more often than individuals from the general population. Survivor-specific interventions are needed to reduce dental care barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • MEPS
  • dental care
  • dental use barriers
  • survivors of AYA cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology


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