Survey: Many lack awareness of oral cancer causes

New results from a national survey conducted by Kelton on behalf of the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) show that Americans remain in the dark about certain potential causes of oral cancer, including alcohol consumption and the human papillomavirus (HPV).

OCF conducted the survey to establish a baseline of public understanding for all stakeholders concerned with reducing the incidence of oral cancer, and to bring light to the need for increased education about the growing threat posed by the disease, the foundation noted in a press release.

The survey shows that women tend to be slightly more aware of the risk factors of oral cancer than men. For example, 40% of women and 33% of men who responded to the survey correctly recognized alcohol consumption as a risk factor for oral cancer, but less than 30% of both genders realized that a sexually transmitted virus is a causative factor for the disease.

This data supports the current consensus that awareness of oral cancer and early discovery measures is low, and that most Americans do not recognize that the profile of the oral cancer patient has evolved from heavy smokers and drinkers to now include anyone who is sexually active, according to the OCF.

For "Americans' Appreciation for Their Mouth Overshadowed by Their Lack of Awareness of Oral Cancer," Kelton surveyed 1,024 Americans ages 18 and older between March 30 and April 2, 2012 using an email invitation and online survey. In this study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary by more than +/-3.1% from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons represented by the sample.

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