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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-38

Knowledge, attitude and screening practices of general dentists concerning oral cancer in Bangalore city

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, RIMS Dental College and Hospital, Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Hitkarini Dental College and Hospital, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
V Suresan
Hitkarini Dental College and Hospital, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.98915

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Context: Oral cancer presents with high mortality rates, and the likelihood of survival is remarkably better when detected early. The dental profession shares an important responsibility toward early screening, prompt referral and treatment. Aims: The aim of the present study was to assess the oral cancer knowledge, attitude and screening practices among dental practitioners in Bangalore city. Materials and Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using a 24-item self-administered questionnaire involving private dental practitioners of Bangalore city. A total of 1556 private dental practitioners of Bangalore made up the sampling frame of the study, and a sample of 250 dentists was found to be sufficient. Two hundred and fifty dentists were selected by cluster random sampling. The institutional review committee approved the study. Data were entered using SPSS 13.01. Results: A total of 250 practicing dentists were approached, of which 240 participated in the study. Among the various risk factors for causing oral cancer, the use of alcohol was identified as a major risk factor by 238 (99%) dentists. The high-risk age group for oral cancer was identified as the fourth and fifth decades by 143 (59%) dentists. Adequate training for providing oral cancer examinations was acquired by 164 (68%) of the dentists. Two hundred and thirty-seven (98%) dentists strongly agreed that patients should be referred to specialists if they suspected oral cancer in any lesion. No more than 37% of the dentists routinely practiced complete oral cavity examination on all patients who attended their practice. A mere 31% of the dentists educated their patients on the adverse effects of these habits and assisted them in cessation programmes. Conclusions: These findings concerning dentists' knowledge and opinions related to oral and pharyngeal cancer suggest strongly that educational interventions for practitioners and dental students are necessary. We contend that an offering of continuing dental education programs would go a long way to enhance the prevention and early diagnosis of oral cancer.


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