Raising awareness of oral cancer from a public and health professional perspective

Macpherson, L. M.D. (2018) Raising awareness of oral cancer from a public and health professional perspective. British Dental Journal, 225(9), pp. 809-814. (doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.919) (PMID:30412572)

166337.pdf - Accepted Version



Low public awareness of oral cancer and delays in symptomatic patients presenting to health services have been identified as contributing factors to poor survival rates. In order to promote diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer at an earlier stage, public awareness campaigns have been recommended, encouraging those with signs and symptoms to attend primary care services at an earlier stage. This article provides an overview of the evidence of effectiveness of interventions aimed at raising cancer awareness and explores the use of mass media for health behaviour change. The use of awareness campaigns to promote earlier diagnosis of oral cancer is also explored from both a patient and health professional perspective. The findings of the overview suggest that while awareness raising campaigns can increase knowledge of the disease and attendance at health services in the short-term, those at lesser risk often respond, and evidence of longer-term impact is very limited. The translation of knowledge into behaviour change is likely to require a more comprehensive, longer-term, multi-faceted approach, acknowledging the social determinants of health and health behaviour theory. More work is required to understand what needs to be included in campaigns to make them effective. Availability and access to appropriately trained and informed primary care personnel is important, particularly for high-risk groups. This is relevant for: supporting those with signs and symptoms to attend services; promoting opportunistic screening; enabling referral of patients to secondary care in a timely manner; and for provision of advice on the major risk factors associated with oral cancer.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Lorna
Authors: Macpherson, L. M.D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:British Dental Journal
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group for the British Dental Association
ISSN (Online):1476-5373
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Springer Nature
First Published:First published in British Dental Journal 225(9): 809-814
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record