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Eur J Cancer Prev. 2014 Sep;23(5):464-8. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000020.

Knowledge of oral cancer, preventive attitudes, and behaviors of primary care physicians in Turkey.

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aDepartment of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Yeditepe University bDepartment of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Medipol University cDepartment of Public Health, School of Medicine, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey.


Oral cancers (OCs) have a high mortality rate because of their typically late diagnosis. Primary care physicians play a vital role in early detection. In this study, we evaluated the family physicians' (FPs) knowledge, preventive attitudes, and behaviors in terms of OCs. A semistructured questionnaire consisting of 50 questions was prepared and distributed to 200 FPs. Questions were grouped under four main headings: demographic characteristics, general protective attitudes against OCs, risk factors, and daily practices while performing the necessary examinations and referrals. Of 200 FPs, 164 responded to the questionnaire (82% response rate). The mean age of the study participants was 34.8 ± 8.4 years and the mean duration of practice was 10 ± 8.1 years. One-third of the physicians (29.9%, n=49) stated that they did not inquire about the amount of tobacco use. In terms of alcohol use, 45.7% (n=75) and 56.7% (n=93) did not ask about past alcohol consumption or the amount of alcohol consumed, respectively. Moreover, 69.5% (n=114) believed that they did not receive adequate smoking cessation training and 79.9% (n=131) stated that they did not receive any alcohol cessation training. To decrease morbidity and mortality associated with OCs, primary care physicians should be trained to ask their patients about high-risk behaviors, provide counseling and education on tobacco and alcohol-abuse cessation, and provide oral examinations.

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