Background: The ability of health care professionals to perform oral cancer examination depends partly on their knowledge of the disease and its risk factors. This study aimed to assess and compare the knowledge of final year students, interns and faculty members regarding oral cancer and its risk factors.
Material and Methods: A 35-item questionnaire about knowledge of oral cancer and its risk factors was distributed among participants from Jazan University's Dental School. A minimum score of 18 was the cut-off point for an acceptable total score of oral cancer knowledge [OCTS]. Descriptive statistics described the relations between demographics variables and knowledge levels of participants. The differences between OCTS, diagnostic-clinical examination knowledge [DCK] and supportive knowledge [SK] and sex and occupation were analyzed using independent t-test and ANOVAs respectively.
Results: A total of 72 students, 68 interns and 88 faculty members completed the questionnaires (N = 228); with an average age of 23.8 ± 0.9 years, 25.1 ± 1.5 years and 40.6 ± 9.1 years with 55.1% males. OCTS was 20.2 ± 3.6 out of 35. No significant difference between OCTS and participants' sex was found (t (203) = 1.342, p = .181, 95% CI for difference -.302 ــ 1.589). No significant differences in OCTS between students, interns and faculty members (F (2, 225) = 2.116, p = .123). A significant difference in SK between final year students, interns, and faculty members was founded (F (2, 194) = 5.62, p = .004).
Conclusions: Knowledge of oral cancer and its risk factors among Jazan Dental School's final year students, interns and faculty members is acceptable. However, due to the high rate of oral cancer in Jazan, emphasizing knowledge of oral cancer and its risk factors in the curriculum of Jazan Dental School is required. Key words:Oral cancer, risk factors, knowledge, dental education, curriculum, dental students, dentists.