• 10/26/2004
  • S Stahl, LH Meskin, and LJ Brown
  • J Am Dent Assoc, September 1, 2004; 135(9): 1261-7

The ADA conducted a public service campaign in late 2001 to raise awareness of oral cancer and of the dentist’s role in early detection.

To gather information about the impact of this campaign, the ADA undertook two surveys. A telephone survey was conducted among 1,270 adult consumers, and a second survey was mailed to a national sample of 2,500 dentists.

The majority of the consumers did not recognize the fact that dentists are responsible for examining their patients for oral cancer and that oral cancer claims more lives than melanoma or cervical cancer. The majority of dentists was aware of the ADA campaign and agreed that it helped raise the public’s awareness of oral cancer and the importance of early detection. As a result, more dentists said that they are likely to educate their patients about early detection, adjust their own practice routines to include discussion about the disease, and look more closely for small oral lesions and test them with the brush biopsy test.

The results of the survey of dentists demonstrated that the oral cancer awareness initiative sponsored by the ADA resulted in positive behavioral changes targeted toward the early detection of oral cancer.

Clinical Implications:
Continued efforts to provide health education and health promotion interventions aimed at consumers and dentists invariably will result in the detection of oral cancers at early and curable stages.

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