Oral Cancer: Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Dentists in The State of Qatar
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Background: Oral cancer is a silent invasive disease with poor prognosis in its late stage. In Qatar, head and neck cancers accounted for 4% of overall malignant cancers. More than 60% of these cases were diagnosed in late stages. It is mainly associated with behavioral risk factors, mainly tobacco and alcohol use. The oral cavity is an easily accessible site for examination. Dentists have a prime role in early detection and diagnosis of oral cancer. Number of oral cancer diagnosed annually is increasing in Qatar, due to the rapid increase in the population and adoption of different behavior risk factors. The aim of this study is to identify the level of knowledge among dentists regarding oral cancer clinical presentation and risk factors. To explore the impact of the dentists’ demographic characteristics (scope of practice, years of experience and last time to attend a continuous professional development (CPD) course) on the level of knowledge. To explore dentists’ attitude regarding oral cancer detection and prevention. Method: This cross-sectional study used a self-administered questionnaire with 46-items. Thirty-items of the questionnaire were scored and categorized into three level of knowledge (high-Medium-low) for the risk factors and the clinical presentation of oral cancer. The study included a total of 271 dentists practicing in Primary Health Care Centers and Hamad Medical Corporation. One hundred and seventy-seven dentists responded to the survey. Results: The mean score of the clinical presentation index is 7.59 (SD=2.40) out of total score of 14. The mean score of Risk factor index is 8.96 (SD=2.31) out of total score of 16. Younger ages are more likely to have high scores more than older age participants. Dentists with less than 10 years of experience are more likely to have satisfactory level of knowledge compared to dentists with more than 15 years of experience. Specialist dentists are more likely to have satisfactory clinical knowledge about oral cancer compared to general practice dentists. Attending a continuous professional development course about oral cancer would result in satisfactory level of clinical knowledge. Conclusion: Dentists demonstrated unsatisfactory level of knowledge about the clinical feature and the risk factors about oral cancer. The patient’s visit to the dentist is an opportunity for comprehensive oral examination. Dentists are therefore expected to be knowledgeable about the risk factors and the clinical presentation of oral cancer for preliminary diagnosis and instant referral. This study identified the gaps of oral cancer knowledge among dentists and identified the need for educational interventions about oral cancer. This is essential to improve the outcome of the health system and delivery of care.
- Public Health [11 items ]