Oral Cancer Awareness Among Medical & Dental Students of Bahria University Medical and Dental College

Beenish Fatima Alam1                                                BDS, MSc, MFDS RCSEd

Madiha Anwar2                                                                         BDS, MDS

Talha Nayab3                                                                 BDS, MSc

Marium Azfar4                                                                          BDS, MPH

Peraha Shaikh5                                                                        Final Year Student

Ahmer Shakeel6                                                                       Final Year Student

OBJECTIVE: Pakistan has a high rate of incidence of oral cancer. In Pakistan, betel nut, betel quid and tobacco are found to be the most important causative agents of oral cancer. Timely detection and diagnosis of oral cancers can improve their responsive to treatments, consequently decreasing mortality rate and increasing the prognosis rate. The objective of this study was to report the knowledge and information about the different causes, risk factors and clinical appearance of oral cancer among undergraduate dental and medical students and to further identify the changes and improvements required in the teaching strategies.

METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional survey was done among 400 medical and dental undergraduate students of Bahria Medical and Dental University Karachi. The tool used to evaluate awareness of oral cancer was a self-administered questionnaire taken from Carter to Odgen. The collected data was analyzed by SPSS software (v-16) to calculate mean descriptive and percentages of the awareness about causes and early signs of oral cancer among undergraduate students.

RESULTS: Students of dentistry were found to have a habit of examining the oral mucosa as compared to the medical students. Betel nut chewing and tobacco were the commonly identified risk factors. Non-healing ulcer was recognized as the common clinical change pertaining to oral cancer. Out of all students, only 6% were found to be very well informed.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that curriculum of medical and dental students should be improved by incorporating more interactive teaching sessions such as seminars, OPD training sessions and awareness programs for oral cancer. More emphasis should be given on oral examination by medical students during their clinical years to enhance their knowledge about oral cancer improving its prognosis.

KEYWORDS: Oral Cancer, Awareness, Risk Factors, Undergraduate Students, Oral Mucosal Changes, Diagnosis, Medical, Dental

HOW TO CITE: Alam BF, Anwar M, Nayab T, Azfar M, Shaikh P, Shakeel A. Oral cancer awareness among Medical & Dental Students of Bahria University Medical and Dental College. J Pak Dent Assoc 2018;27(4):172-80.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.25301/JPDA.274.172

Received: 11 June 2018, Accepted: 17 August 2018