Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of oral cancer prevention among dental students and interns: an online cross‑sectional questionnaire in Palestine

Rola Muhammed Shadid, Mohammad Amid Abu Ali, Omar Kujan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Oral cancer is frequently characterized with an aggressive behavior and an unfavorable prognosis; however, it is generally associated with promising prognosis if detected early. Therefore, this study aimed to assess knowledge, practices, and attitudes toward oral cancer prevention among dental students and interns; and to investigate the factors that influence their practices of oral cancer screening or prevention. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted between March and April of 2022 on the fourth- and fifth-year undergraduate dental students and interns in the College of Dentistry at Arab American University in Palestine. A 48-item questionnaire which has 4 sections: demographics, knowledge, practices, and attitudes toward oral cancer prevention and early detection was sent to all eligible participants (N = 570). RESULTS: The response rate was 68.7% (N = 351). About 66.8% of the respondents had poor knowledge about oral cancer and its risk factors, and 85.5% had a poor practice of oral cancer early detection and prevention; however, the majority of the respondents (81.1%) had shown favorable attitudes toward oral cancer prevention. Interns had significantly better knowledge and attitude scores compared to the undergraduate dental students (P < 0.05). Lack of training, time, confidence, and effectiveness were stated among the barriers to oral cancer screening. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the participants surveyed in this study appeared to lack adequate knowledge and skills in oral cancer prevention and early detection; however, they seemed to have good motivation and a good attitude toward oral cancer prevention training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number381
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Oral Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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