KUMJ | VOL. 15 | NO. 1 | ISSUE 57 | JAN.-MARCH, 2017

Awareness and Knowledge of Oral Cancer among Medical Students in Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences
Pokharel M, Shrestha I, Dhakal A, Amatya RCM

Background Oral cancer is a major public health problem worldwide. It has high mortality rates and chances of survival is relatively superior when detected early. Lack of knowledge and awareness about oral cancer among medical students may contribute to delay in diagnosis and treatment. Objective To assess awareness and knowledge of oral cancer among medical students. Method A cross-sectional study conducted among 286 students by Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck surgery, Kathmandu University School of Medical sciences between July to August 2016. A questionnaire with questions on socio-demographic profile, awareness and knowledge of oral cancer was used. Independent sample t test and Pearson Chi-square tests were used for statistical analysis. Result Out of 329 students approached, 286 participated in the study yielding a response rate of 86.9%. Symptoms of oral cancer as reported were ulceration in mouth (92.3%), oral bleeding (85.0%),whitish or reddish patch (84.3%), halitosis (75.5%) and swelling in neck (74.5%), trismus (69.2%), numbness (67.1%), loosening of teeth (49.3%) and tooth sensitivity (41.6%). The perceived risk factors were smoking (97.2%), tobacco chewing (96.5%), chronic irritation (86.7%), immunodeficiency (83.9%), poor oral hygiene (88.5%), human papilloma virus infection (82.5%), dietary factors (81.1%), alcohol (79.4%), ill-fitting dentures (72.4%), hot spicy food (65.4%) and hot beverages (58.0%). Significant differences were found between pre-clinical and clinical students for knowledge of risk factors, signs and symptoms of oral cancer (p<0.001). Conclusion There is deficiency of knowledge among medical students about some aspects of oral cancer. Active involvement while examining patients and taking biopsies of malignant and premalignant lesions may help in improving studentsí knowledge about oral cancer.
Keyword : Awareness, knowledge, oral cancer, risk factors