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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 226-230

Awareness and knowledge of head and neck cancer risks: Do Saudi adults know enough?

1 Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 General Dental Clinics, King Abdulaziz University Dental Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Endodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nadia Al-Hazmi
Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80498, Ahmad Altaybee Street, Jeddah 21589.
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JIOH.JIOH_174_19

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Aim: The aim of this study was to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding head and neck cancer (HNC) in a random sample of Saudi adults. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of patients was carried out in tertiary hospitals in Saudi Arabia. A pretested questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 280 patients in several government hospitals in Jeddah. The questionnaire assessed knowledge and perception about oral cancer as well as habits known to be risk factors. Descriptive Statistical analysis was used for this study, and association between demographic and knowledge variables was analyzed by chi-squared test and multivariable logistic regression. Results: Although about half of respondents had heard of HNC, 37.7% felt that they had insufficient knowledge about HNC and 55.0% felt that they knew nothing about it. Men were more likely to have heard of HNC than women (P = 0.046), whereas being better educated (university level or above) was associated with a higher level of knowledge about HNC (P = 0.004), although these variables were not significant in multivariable analysis. Knowledge about the signs of HNC was low. 69.5% were aware that tobacco use is a risk factor, but only 39.8% thought alcohol was also a risk factor. Only 11.5% reported having had a medical examination for HNC. Conclusion: The Saudi Arabian people are poorly informed about HNC. Lack of public awareness is considered a potent barrier for the early detection of HNC. In a country where tobacco use is common, HNC poses a serious health concern and targeted public health strategies are warranted.

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