Oral Cancer Awareness among Undergraduate Dental Students and Dental Surgeons: A Descriptive Cross-sectional Study
Introduction: The incidence of oral cancer is rising due to overindulgence in tobacco chewing and smoking. Its detection in early stage makes it more amenable to treatment and helps to reduce associated morbidity. However, most cases are diagnosed at later stage due to lack of awareness about oral cancer and associated risk factors. This study aims to observe the oral cancer awareness among undergraduate dental students and dental surgeons of three dental institutions of Nepal.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in three dental institutions of Nepal from January 2019 to May 2019. Convenience sampling method was used. The data was collected from 508 participants through questionnaire adopted from Carter and Ogden. Point estimate at 95 % Confidence Interval was calculated along with frequency and proportion for binary data. Statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.
Results: Our study showed that 120 (23.6%) of the participants were well informed about the clinical appearance of oral cancer at 95% confidence interval (19.91-27.29). Most of the participants i.e. 457 (89.96%) and 395 (77.75%) were aware that smoking and chewing tobacco were most commonly recognized risk factors. Only 200 (39.37%) participants were aware that non-healing ulcer is considered as the changes associated with oral cancer. Three hundred and forty-four (67.7%) said they have no knowledge about the prevention and detection of oral cancer.
Conclusions: Our study exhibited the apparent lack of awareness in some aspects of oral cancer and highlights the need of enhancing the undergraduate dental syllabus.
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