Despite a recent dental visit, more individuals of a minority race/ethnicity and low socioeconomic status report not receiving an oral cancer screening exam, according to a study published online Aug. 20 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Avni Gupta, B.D.S., M.P.H., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from individuals aged 30 years or older who received a dental visit in the previous two years. The likelihood of intraoral and extraoral cancer screening exams was assessed, while adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, poverty income ratio, health insurance, tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Overall, 37.6 and 31.3 percent of individuals reported receiving an intraoral and extraoral cancer screening exam, respectively. The researchers found that the likelihood of having received intraoral or extraoral cancer screening exams was lower for minority racial/ethnic groups versus white, non-Hispanics; those with less education versus more education; those who were uninsured and Medicaid-insured versus privately insured; and low-income versus high-income participants. The likelihood of being screened did not differ based on smoking status, while the likelihood was increased for alcohol consumers. Less-educated and low-income subgroups were less likely to be screened.
“Efforts to both educate patients about requesting oral cancer screening in dental offices and adequately train dental professionals on culturally sensitive communications might be an effective means to increase oral cancer screening exams among minority high-risk populations,” the authors write