Oral cancer awareness among students from Mumbai University

Dnyanesh Limaye, Gauri Bhatkhande, Shweta Sabu, Aashvi Jain, Poorva Taskar, Utkarsh Gupta, Arlan Sydymanov, Vaidehi Limaye, Ravi Shankar Pitani, Sushama Sathe, Gerhard Fortwengel, Zeinab Kanso


Background: Oral cancer is among the top three types of cancers in India. Severe alcoholism, use of tobacco in the form of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and betel nut chewing are the most common risk factors for oral cancer. Often individuals with pre cancer even notice the alterations, such as reduced mouth opening in oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), but they are not aware about the causes and consequences of these changes. Awareness about causes and features of oral cancers can be very helpful in prevention, control and early diagnosis of oral cancer.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among students from Mumbai University, India during May-June 2017. Five hundred students were approached to participate in the study of which 400 agreed to participate. Pretested questionnaire was distributed and collected data was analyzed using IBM SPSS version 23.

Results: There were 199 (49%) males and 201 (50%) females in the study and response rate was (80%). Respondents had good knowledge about oral cancer. Seventy four percent (268/362) respondents correctly identified smoking, and tobacco chewing as possible causes of oral cancer. Almost all (96%; 348/362) respondents correctly responded that oral cancer does not spread from person to person through touch or speaking. Seventy two percent (260/362) respondents believed that oral cancer is curable. Significantly higher number of male (98%) compared to female participants answered correctly to questions regarding spread of disease and occurrence of oral cancer in AIDS patients.

Conclusions: Participants showed good knowledge about oral cancer. Female participants showed lesser knowledge compared to male counterparts. Details about oral cancer should be incorporated in the undergraduate curriculum and periodic awareness programs should be organized for students.


Knowledge, Oral cancer, Smoking, Tobacco, University students

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