What Do Dentists and Dental Students Think of Oral Cancer and Its Control and Prevention Strategies? A Qualitative Study in Jazan Dental School

Mohammed Jafer*, Rik Crutzen, Ibtisam Moafa, Bart van den Borne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Jazan region of Saudi Arabia has a high prevalence of oral cancer: 35% of cases. However, little is known about the view of dentists and dental students on possible factors that contribute to this high rate with scarce efforts regarding prevention. The study investigated possible factors related to oral cancer as perceived by dentists and dental students, using a qualitative approach. Six focus groups conducted in Jazan Dental School (JDS) and participants included dental students, interns, faculty members, and key decision-makers. All participants acknowledged oral cancer a serious public health issue in Jazan affecting all ages. The majority thought that tobacco is a major risk factor in this region, which can easily be obtained by individuals of any age or gender. Further, formal dental education in the country is not focusing on the local related risk factors. Participants agreed that practicing oral cancer examination and its risk factors education is related to clinicians' attitude and skills. Several participants declared that no organized effort established toward oral cancer and its risk factors in the region. Cultural acceptance of oral cancer risk factors was mentioned as one of the challenges for patients. The findings indicate that dental education and training at JDS are not focusing on necessary related oral health issues and their risk factors in the community. Also, it casts a new light on the fact that dentists are not educating their patients because they lack the knowledge and the skill of health education and patients' communication methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number1
Early online date10 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Oral cancer
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Early detection
  • Dental education
  • Curriculum
  • Risk factors
  • Patient education
  • Perception

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