Oral cancer prevention and early detection: Knowledge and practice among Saudi Arabian healthcare practitioners

Louay Jaber, Sami Shaban, Deema Hariri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Despite the crucial role that healthcare practitioners (HCPs) have in preventing and detecting oral cancer (OC), studies suggest that dentists and physicians do not adequately detect early stage OC which is attributed to their attitude and knowledge. This Saudi Arabian study aims to assess HCP's knowledge and practice vis-à-vis OC's risk factors and patient evaluation. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire was distributed to HCPs in six different Saudi Arabian settings. A total of 16 items representing a mixture of OC's risk and non-risk factors were measured. Findings: The study found that only 20.9 percent of HCPs could distinguish 11 items or more correctly. Additionally, when HCPs obtained the patient's medical history, no more than 32.3 percent routinely assessed ten important OC issues. Almost 36 percent of HCPs thought that attending to too many patients prevented them from taking proper medical histories, and 37.6 percent admitted that more training in preventing and detecting OC is needed. Research limitations/implications: Since there is no effective automated system to reach Saudi Arabian practitioners, the number of practitioners involved in this study is limited. Practical implications: The knowledge and practice of HCPs with relation to OC do not appear to be sufficient and HCPs should have better and more training in OC prevention and early detection. Originality/value: It appears that Saudi Arabian HCPs do not adequately participate in OC's prevention and early detection. It is suggested that continuous education strategies in Saudi Arabia should be reassessed and emphasis given to OC diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of health care quality assurance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Cancer
  • Detection
  • Health care
  • Oral cancer
  • Prevention
  • Saudi Arabia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Health Policy


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