Oral Cancer Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices among Primary Oral Health Care Dentists in Kuwait

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Research and Survey Division, Dental Administration, Ministry of Health, Kuwait.

2 National Oral Health Program, Ministry of Health, Kuwait.

3 School Oral Health Program, Kuwait-Forsyth, Kuwait.

4 College of Dental Medicine, University of New England, Portland, Maine, USA.

5 Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Abstract

Background: Oral cancer signifies a public health concern of international importance. Early detection of oral cancer
can improve the prognosis and the 5-year survival rate. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the level of oral
cancer knowledge, opinion, attitudes and practices among dentists working at the primary oral health care centers in
Kuwait. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, self-reported questionnaire was distributed to the dentists working at
the primary oral health care centers in Kuwait. A total of 289 dentists participated in the present study. The questionnaire
included 23- questions on oral cancer knowledge, opinion, attitudes and practices. Results: The mean age of the dentists
was 35.2 ± 10.9 years. Approximately, all dentists (99.7%) were aware of the major risk factors that were most likely
associated with oral cancer. Overall, majority of the participants knew the most common form of oral cancer (80.6%),
most common site (80.3%) and the likely lesions associated with oral cancer occurrence (87.9%). A large number of
dental practitioners (81%) would routinely refer a patient with a suspicious lesion to a specialist. Nearly one-third (32%)
reviewed their patients’ oral cancer risk factors. Approximately two-thirds (62%) assessed the use of tobacco in their
practice. Almost, all (92.4%) were interested in attending continuing education courses on oral cancer. Conclusions:
Majority of the participants presented good knowledge about various aspects of oral cancer. More continuing education
programs on risk factors and diagnosis of oral cancer should be organized to train the dentists. Oral cancer screening
should be a routine procedure for the high risk patients at the primary oral health care centers in Kuwait.

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