Oral cancer knowledge and awareness among dental students

  • Tânderson Rittieri Camêlo Soares Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
  • Maria Eugênia de Almeida Carvalho Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
  • Lucielma Salmito Soares Pinto Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAP; Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI
  • Carlos Alberto Falcão Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAP; Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI
  • Francisca Tereza Coelho Matos Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
  • Tanit Clementino Santos Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI

Abstract

Aim: To assess the knowledge and attitude of undergraduate dental students about oral cancer. Methods: A cross-sectional, quantitative study was conducted based on a questionnaire containing 15 questions about prevention, clinical aspects, and attitudes towards oral cancer. One hundredthirty-three undergraduate dental students between the second and fifth years were enrolled. The statistical significance was measured by Pearson’s chi-square test. Results: There was a predominance of females (58.65%) and most students were between 20 and 30 years of age (75.19%). The risk factors for oral cancer mainly described by the students were smoking (92.48%) and drinking (84.21%). Squamous cell carcinoma was described as the most common type of oral cancer by 48.12% of the students. As much as 53.38% of the participants considered the tongue as the most affected anatomic region, 57.89% reported ulcers as the most frequent clinical aspect, and 44.36% attributed a firm and painless aspect to the regional metastatic lymph nodes. Most students reported regularly conducting a thorough examination of the oral cavity (81.95%). Two of the 15 variables showed differences between the students, according to the school time: previous head and neck carcinoma (Pearson’s chi-square, p = 0.03) and guidance on the discontinuation of harmful habits (Pearson’s chi-square, p = 0.02). Conclusions: Students have a good knowledge of the etiology of oral cancer and are apparently alert in their examinations. The clinical aspects of the oral carcinoma, however, are not so clear. The difference regarding knowledge and attitudes towards oral cancer was minimal when different undergraduate years were considered. It is necessary to implement the clinical suspicion of oral cancer throughout the undergraduate course to enable awareness and early diagnosis.

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Author Biographies

Tânderson Rittieri Camêlo Soares, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry, Teresina, PI.
Maria Eugênia de Almeida Carvalho, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry, Teresina, PI.
Lucielma Salmito Soares Pinto, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAP; Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry. Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI, Medical School, Department of Basic Sciences, Teresina, PI.
Carlos Alberto Falcão, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAP; Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAP; Universidade Estadual do Piauí. Universidade Estadual do Piauí - UFPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry, Parnaíba, PI.
Francisca Tereza Coelho Matos, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry, Teresina, PI.
Tanit Clementino Santos, Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI
Centro Universitário UNINOVAFAPI, Dental School, Department of Diagnosis and Clinical Dentistry, Teresina, PI.
Published
2015-10-13
How to Cite
Soares, T. R. C., Carvalho, M. E. de A., Pinto, L. S. S., Falcão, C. A., Matos, F. T. C., & Santos, T. C. (2015). Oral cancer knowledge and awareness among dental students. Brazilian Journal of Oral Sciences, 13(1), 28-33. https://doi.org/10.20396/bjos.v13i1.8640926
Section
Article