The Knowledge of the Role of Papillomavirus-Related Head and Neck Pathologies among General Practitioners, Otolaryngologists and Trainees. A Survey-Based Study

PLoS One. 2015 Oct 26;10(10):e0141003. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141003. eCollection 2015.


Objectives: The aim of the survey was to introduce knowledge of HPV's role in head and neck pathologies to general physicians (GPs), otorhinolaryngologists (ENTs) and newly graduated doctors, as well as to promote HPV-related diseases prevention.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Self-designed questionnaire was sent to 2100 doctors. A total of 404 doctors, including 144 ENTs, 192 GPs and 68 trainees, responded.

Results: The majority of ENTs (86.8%) had contact with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) and oropharyngeal cancers (OPCs) patients; in contrast, the majority of GPs (55.7%) did not (p = 0.00). The knowledge of HPV aetiology of cervical cancer versus OPCs and RRP was statistically higher. 7% of ENTs, 20% of GPs and 10% of trainees had not heard about HPV in oropharyngeal diseases. Women had greater knowledge than men. Both in the group of GPs and ENTs, 100% of respondents had heard about the impact of vaccination on the reduction of cervical cancer incidence. Only 39.11% of respondents had heard about the possibility of using vaccination against HPV in RRP-ENT doctors significantly more often than GPs and trainees (p = 0.00). Only 28.96% of physicians had heard about the potential value of HPV vaccination in preventing OPCs, including 44.44% of ENT doctors, 23.44% of GPs and 11.76% of trainees (p = 0.00). The doctors from district hospitals showed lower level of knowledge compared with clinicians (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: The different levels of knowledge and awareness of HPV issues highlight the need for targeted awareness strategies in Poland with implementation of HPV testing and vaccination. The information should be accessible especially to those with lower education levels: ENTs from small, provincial wards, GPs from cities of < 200,000 inhabitants and older physicians. The incorporation of HPV issues into the studies curriculum would be fruitful in terms of improving the knowledge of trainees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Poland
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis

Grants and funding

Funding for this study was provided by the NCBiR programme INNOMED/I/7/NCBR/2014. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.