Awareness of oral cancer among non medical students: a survey

Sri Vasavi Kadiyala and Gifrina jayaraj

Objective: To know the awareness of oral cancer and their attitude and habits of tobacco use among non-medical students.

Methods: The present survey was carried out from 1st December to 30 December, 2016 in non medical universities of chennai. The study population included students ranging from 19 to 25 years of age who had no background knowledge of medicine and were not related to any branch of the medical sciences. A total of 100 students were randomly selected in this study. The information was gathered by asking questions using a well structured questionnaire covering aspects regarding knowledge about oral cancer, causative factors of oral cancer, dental attitude of the patients. The questionnaire was explained to the students completely prior to handing it out to them. Study protocol and the use of data for research was fully explained to the students to get fully informed and understood content. The data collected was analysed by using Microsoft Excel 2007.

Results: In this study 60% students were males and 40% were females. 84% of students were familiar with the word oral cancer, 42% of students were aware that cigarette can cause oral cancer while 33% stated snuff dipping as cause of oral cancer. 45% students thought lump is the sign of oral cancer. With regards to frequency of visiting a dentist 55% said that they will visit a dentist in trouble.

Conclusion: Educated population of this region are unaware mainly about risk factors. 22% students had misconception that dental fillings cause oral cancer. 43% of students think that oral cancer is communicable. This affects the cancer patient psychologically. 55% of students visit the dentist only when they are in pain.

So it is important that routine visits of people is necessary as prevention is better than cure.
This study showed that the educated population of this region is unaware of basic knowledge about oral cancer especially about its signs and symptoms.

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