Oral Cancer Awareness of Patients Attending Health Centres in Trinidad
Authors: Elizabeth Prayman, Yi-Hsin Yang and Saman Warnakulasuriya
Abstract: Objective: Awareness of oral cancer among patients attending health centres in Trinidad, their risk perception, and knowledge of risk factors were investigated in a cross sectional study. Method: From ten randomly selected health centers throughout Trinidad, 880 persons were interviewed. Findings: The participantsí awareness of oral cancer was low, with only 54.6% of the sample having heard of oral cancer, as compared to over 90% of the sample having heard of other common cancers. Their awareness of one of the major risk factors for oral cancer i.e. smoking was high, but of other risk factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and excessive exposure to sunlight were low. The number of participants who have had oral cancer screening examinations was also low. Further, 39% of the respondents were of the opinion that development of cancer is a matter of chance and is thus unavoidable. Conclusion: An oral health promotion strategy should involve elements of some basic education on oral cancer for this population, and a common risk factor approach for prevention.