Screening for Oral Cancer/Pre-cancer: Knowledge and Opinions of Dentists Employed in the Public Sector Dental Services of Sri Lanka


Objective: The aim of the present study was to assess knowledge and opinions related to oral cancer screeningamong dentists employed in public sector dental services in Sri Lanka. Materials and methods: The studypopulation consisted of a total of 1,020 dentists employed in the public sector dental services as at December2007. The data were collected by means of a postal questionnaire consisting of 23 items focusing on demographiccharacteristics, knowledge and opinions about screening for oral cancer/precancer.
Results: 387 completedquestionnaires were returned giving a response rate of 38%. The overall knowledge score for oral cancer screeningwas 2.79 ± 0.76. There were no significant differences between time since graduation, position held and knowledgescores. Around 68-70% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that their knowledge about oral cancer/pre cancerwas current. Though 77% agreed/strongly agreed that dentists are adequately trained in oral cancer screening,nearly 63% disagreed/strongly disagreed that medical officers are adequately trained to perform oral screening.Nearly 81% agreed/strongly agreed that they were adequately trained in oral cancer screening whilst 70% alsofelt that they needed further training in oral cancer screening.
Conclusions: the results revealed that a fairlylarge proportion of respondents were knowledgeable about oral cancer screening but as there was a reasonablepercentage whose knowledge about oral cancer screening was poor there is a need for continuing educationprogrammes.