Psychosocial factors associated with mouth and throat cancer examinations in rural Florida

Am J Public Health. 2012 Feb;102(2):e7-14. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300504. Epub 2011 Dec 15.


Objectives: We examined the knowledge and prevalence of mouth and throat cancer examinations in a sample drawn from rural populations in north Florida.

Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted across rural census tracts throughout north Florida in 2009 and 2010, in a survey that had been adapted for cultural appropriateness using cognitive interviews. The sample consisted of 2526 respondents (1132 men and 1394 women; 1797 Whites and 729 African Americans).

Results: Awareness of mouth and throat cancer examination (46%) and lifetime receipt (46%) were higher than reported in statewide studies performed over the past 15 years. Only 19% of the respondents were aware of their examination, whereas an additional 27% reported having the examination when a description was provided, suggesting a lack of communication between many caregivers and rural patients. Surprisingly, anticipated racial/ethnic differences were diminished when adjustments were made for health literacy and several measures of socioeconomic status.

Conclusions: These findings support the notion that health disparities are multifactorial and include characteristics such as low health literacy, lack of access to care, and poor communication between patient and provider.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / psychology
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / psychology
  • Physical Examination / psychology
  • Physical Examination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors