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J Oral Pathol Med. 2001 Jan;30(1):22-8.

Oral mucosal lesions and risk habits among men in an Italian study population.

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Department of Oral Medicine, University of Palermo, Italy.

Erratum in

  • J Oral Pathol Med 2002 Sep;31(8):504.


A randomly selected study population of 118 male subjects (> or = 40 years) living on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria (southwest of Sicily, Italy) was examined for the presence of oral mucosal lesions, with particular emphasis on the early diagnosis of oral precancerous and cancerous lesions. The study population was interviewed for socioeconomic and behavioural information, and clinically examined using WHO criteria. The prevalence of oral mucosal lesions observed, and data obtained about oral hygiene, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking and exposure to actinic radiation, were analysed. Alcohol drinking was the most common habit in the study population (73%), followed by tobacco smoking (58.5%, of whom 96% were cigarette smokers). Only 3% showed good oral hygiene and 25% were edentate. Oral lesions were observed in 81.3% of the study group, mainly coated tongue (51.4%), leukoplakia (13.8%), traumatic oral lesions (traumatic ulcers and frictional white lesions) in 9.2%, actinic cheilitis (4.6%), and squamous cell carcinoma in one case (0.9%). Statistically significant associations were found between the prevalence of coated tongue and tobacco smoking (P<0.0001), and between the prevalence of actinic cheilitis and tobacco smoking/alcohol drinking (P<0.05). Analysis of clinical and anamnestic data underlined the effective presence, in the population examined, of the behavioural risk factors for oral precancerous and cancerous lesions, and the lack of cultural motivation towards primary prevention activities, such as the elimination of risk habits.

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