Community Awareness and Oral Cancer Screening in Rural Wisconsin.

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    • Abstract:
      Purpose: Oral cancer risks have been shown to be modified by improving public awareness and reducing barriers to preventive care. The purpose for this study was to assess oral cancer knowledge and awareness and provide oral cancer screenings and education to a population of rural farmers in Wisconsin. Methods: Attendees 18 years of age and older at a rural farming exposition in Wisconsin were invited to complete a 12-item oral cancer awareness paper survey and to receive a visual and tactile head and neck examination/ oral cancer screening. Completing both the survey and the screening were optional. Participants also received educational materials on oral cancer. Individuals with abnormal lesions were provided with dental referrals. Results: A total of 236 attendees consented to participate either the survey or oral cancer screening (n=236). Most (72%) reported seeing a dentist in the past six months regardless of insurance status. In spite of having had recent dental encounters, only 28% of women and 46% of men were able to identify at least one risk factor associated with oral cancer. Among participants consenting to the oral cancer screening (n=194), 17% (n=33) presented with oral lesions requiring additional assessment and were recommended for follow-up care. Conclusions: Knowledge and awareness of oral cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms was low among the participants in this rural population despite high rates of dental care access. Oral cancer screenings and education provided in varied settings could improve oral cancer knowledge and awareness and early detection of malignant oral lesions in rural communities. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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