Background: Knowledge regarding risk factors and primary signs of oral cancer in the general population can help them to avoid risky behaviour and seek timely advice from a physician. The aim of this study was to survey adult knowledge about risk factors and signs of oral cancer in Shiraz Dental University. Materials and
Methods: In this descriptive cross-sectional study using an investigator-made questionnaire, 783 adults who were referred to Shiraz Dental University participated. Questionnaire data were analyzed by ANOVA and T-test.
Results: The results showed that 32.3% of participants were aware of oral cancer and gained their knowledge from the media. The risk factors mentioned by these participants was as follows: sunlight 30.8%, hot and peppery food 40.7%, alcoholic drinks 47.4% and smoking 73.6% (there was significant relationship for drinking alcohol and gender, education and times of using dental service, p<0.05). They also mentioned the primary signs of oral cancer as follows: red patch without pain 27.8%, white patch without pain 13.5% and prolong scarring without pain 56.7% (there was significant relationship between these three signs and education and times of using dental service, p<0.05). The mean knowledge about the risk factors and signs of oral cancer were 1.94 from 5 with 1.14 standard deviation and 0.96 from 3 with 0.93 standard deviation.
Conclusions: The observed low level of knowledge of people regarding both risk factors and signs of oral cancer emphasizes the need for more efforts to be made about the above mentioned issues by the media.