Document Type : Original Article
Tokat Oral and Dental Health Center, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic, Tokat, Turkey
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Dentists are often the first to encounter patients with oral cancer and the detection of lesions plays a major role in early diagnosis of the cancer and improving the prognosis. Undergraduate dentistry students are also future practitioners. The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, awareness, and attitudes of dental students about oral cancer.
METHODS: The questionnaire form prepared in digital environment was sent via e-mail to third, fourth, and fifth-year dentistry students registered with the Turkish Dental Association (TDA). The knowledge, awareness, and attitudes of dental students about oral cancer were evaluated with 49 questions in the questionnaire. The data were analyzed with SPSS software.
RESULTS: This study included 1041 dentistry students. The actual risk factors for oral cancer were known to most dental students who participated in the study. However, a significant portion of the students marked the situations that are not real risk factors for oral cancer as risk factors. In general, it was determined that the students did not have sufficient knowledge about the diagnostic procedures and symptoms of oral cancer.
CONCLUSION: Dental students lacked the adequate level of knowledge and awareness about the prevention and early diagnosis of oral cancer. In undergraduate education, an educational strategy should be developed to provide up-to-date information on risk factors that facilitate early diagnosis, diagnostic procedures, oral examination, and auxiliary diagnostic tools.