Background: The aim of this study was to assess awareness and knowledge of oral and pharyngeal carcinoma and risk perception for developing the cancer among adult patients attending a major dental centre in Perth. Influence of socio-demographic factors on awareness, knowledge and perception was ascertained.
Methods: A random sample of 120 potential participants over the age of 18 who attended the Oral Health Centre of Western Australia between 14 and 18 June 2010 were invited to participate in the survey. A total of 100 participants completed a face-to-face interview guided by a questionnaire.
Results: Seventy-two per cent of the participants had heard of oral and pharyngeal carcinoma. Sixteen per cent knew that both smoking and drinking increased the risk of oral and pharyngeal carcinoma and 49% knew at least one sign or symptom of the cancer. Language spoken at home, education, and employment influenced cancer awareness and knowledge. Sixty-two per cent of the participants considered themselves not at risk of developing the cancer.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that knowledge concerning oral and pharyngeal carcinoma in the community may be limited and educational strategies may be required to improve such knowledge.