Background: Oral cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers and one of the top ten causes of death in thewhole world. Most oral cancers are diagnosed at late stages. Since dentists play a critical role in early detectionof oral cancer, they should be knowledgeable and skillful in oral cancer diagnosis. The aim of this study wasto survey dentist knowledge about oral cancer in Southern Khorasan Province. Materials and
Methods: Thisdescriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted with dentists who participated in an in-service educationalprogram at the Faculty of Dentistry of Birjand University of Medical Sciences in spring 2014. A questionnaireincluding demographic information with 11 questions regarding oral cancer was prepared. The participantswere required to be complete the questionnaires within a specific time span. The data were analyzed usingSPSS 15 software by t-test and one-way ANOVA at 0.05 confidence level.
Results: A total of 73 dentists out of 80answered the questionnaires - 36 (49.3%) were females and 37 (50.7%) were males. Total mean score of knowledgewas 7.91±1 of 11. Mean scores of knowledge of male and female participants were 7.70± 1.83 and 8.13±1.94respectively. Mean knowledge score of general dentists was 7.41±1.79 and of dental specialists was 9.44± 1.0 Inspite of higher knowledge score of women compared to men and general dentists compared to dental specialists,these differences were not statistically significant (p=0.09). Tukey testing showed a significant difference betweengroups with 1-4 years of experience (8.74) and over twenty years of experience (6.50) ( p=0.001).
Conclusions:Considering the good knowledge level of young dentists and the specialists and the importance of early diagnosisof oral cancer, it seems necessary to pay more attention to academic education for dentistry students, as well asholding retraining courses for experienced dentists, so that their knowledge not be reduced over time.