Knowledge about Oral Cancer in Adults Attending a Dental Hospital in India


The incidence of oral cancer in India is on the rise due to increasing consumption of alcohol and tobaccoproducts. The study was conducted with the aim to assess the associated knowledge in adults attending a dentalcollege. Specific objectives were to: 1) assess the knowledge of risk factors for oral cancer 2) assess the knowledgeof signs of oral cancer; 3) determine factors influencing level of knowledge. All adult patients visiting the dentalcollege were randomly selected to participate in a questionnaire survey, printed both in English and the locallanguage - Kannada. Some 69.8% (n=166) and 37.8% (n=90) respectively were able to correctly identify tobaccoand alcohol as risk factors for oral cancer. Only 20.2% (n=48) and 18.1% (n=43) respectively were able tocorrectly identify a white lesion and a red lesion as early signs of oral cancer. Respondents who were younger,those who had >12yrs of education were more likely to be more knowledgeable of risk factors for oral cancer.Those with higher knowledge of risk factor scores were 4.5 times more likely to obtain ≥1 knowledge of signsscore. (p< 0.0000). Knowledge of risk factors and signs of oral cancer was low and misinformation was high,hence there is a need to focus on educational interventions in a hospital based setting to improve knowledge.