Oral Cancer (OC) is a serious health problem affecting the oral cavity, which may lead to death. Alcohol, tobacco, and chewing betel are the main risk factors. Early diagnosis and adequate knowledge of OC may improve the survival rate.
This study aimed to assess the knowledge about oral cancer among dental patients in Mecca.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in the dental clinics of Mecca. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were distributed to 416 respondents aged 18 or older, who spoke Arabic or English, had no history of OC, and participated voluntarily. The questionnaire consisted of three sections. The first regarded demographical data, the second measured knowledge about OC, and the third was concerned with education regarding OC provided by health-care providers. The interviewers also educated the participants by handing brochures with information about OC.
Knowledge about OC among dental patients in Mecca was found to be significantly low. Only 102 of the 416 participants (24.5%) had any knowledge. Only 3.4% of all participants had been educated about OC by their health-care providers.
The results of this study show a considerable lack of general knowledge about OC among dental patients in Mecca. Health programs should be developed to raise the community’s awareness.
Keywords: Knowledge, Awareness, Oral cancer, Dental patients, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.