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A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery
Minerva Stomatologica 2001 May;50(5):139-44
Options and attitudes on oral cancer in a sample of students attending a state secondary scooll in Rome. A pilot study
Orlando A., Salerno P., Tarsitani G.
Background. This study aimed to evaluate knowledge and awareness in a group of secondary school students on the subject of risk factors and strategies used in the prevention of oral cancer.
Methods. The study took the form of a questionnaire which was filled in by a group of 106 secondary school students. The questionnaire was divided into 3 sections: the first analysed the general characteristics of the sample population; the second investigated their knowledge on the specific subject of this study; the last regarded exposure to risk factors and the role played by the dentist and family doctor in the prevention of oral cancer.
Results. Of the 106 students taking part in the study, 42% were male and 58% female. 30% of the group felt it was not possible to prevent cancer in general. 6% associated cigarette smoking with oral cancer, whereas 15% identified alcohol as a risk factor for the same pathology. 30% of the group thought that it was not possible to prevent oral cancer. In the event of a suspected oral lesion, 44% would consult the family doctor, 25% would go to the dentist and 3% to a dental technician.
Conclusions. This study highlights the need improve knowledge of prevention methods in oral cancer. Although young people do not have a high risk of developing oral cancer, they represent a means of conveying information in a social and familial context, thus enabling an early diagnosis, and they also represent the preferred target for primary prevention activities.