Smokers and drinkers awareness of oral cancer: a qualitative study using focus groups

Br Dent J. 1999 Dec 25;187(12):668-70. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4800363.


Objective: To examine the perceptions and understanding of oral cancer among older male drinkers and smokers in the north east of England.

Design: Qualitative research using focus group discussions led by an experienced moderator.

Setting: Residents of the north east of England in their community.

Subjects: Male alcohol drinkers and tobacco smokers over the age of 44 years and by socio-economic grouping.

Results: There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the risk of oral cancer in this whole at-risk population sample. Even those who have direct contact with the disease profess ignorance. Information on health is perceived as confusing or distrusted. Much of this is linked to a fatalistic approach to serious illness.

Conclusions: There appears to be a large information gap to bridge, and we need to further understand the target group for oral cancer health promotion; and to use that knowledge to design effective health promotion initiatives.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • England
  • Focus Groups*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Social Class