Purpose: To characterize smoking and alcohol use, and to describe predictors of oral cancer knowledge among a predominantly African-American population.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between September, 2013 among drag racers and fans in East St. Louis. Oral cancer knowledge was derived from combining questionnaire items to form knowledge score. Covariates examined included age, sex, race, marital status, education status, income level, insurance status, tobacco and alcohol use. Adjusted linear regression analysis measured predictors of oral cancer knowledge.
Results: Three hundred and four participants completed questionnaire; 72.7% were African Americans. Smoking rate was 26.7%, alcohol use was 58.3%, and mean knowledge score was 4.60 ± 2.52 out of 17. In final adjusted regression model, oral cancer knowledge was associated with race and education status. Compared with Caucasians, African Americans were 29% less likely to have high oral cancer knowledge (β = -0.71; 95% CI: -1.35, -0.07); and participants with a high school diploma or less were 124% less likely to have high oral cancer knowledge compared with college graduates (β = -1.24; 95% CI: -2.44, -0.41).
Conclusions: There was lower oral cancer knowledge among African Americans and those with low education. The prevalence of smoking was also very high. Understanding predictors of oral cancer knowledge is important in future design of educational interventions specifically targeted towards high-risk group for oral cancer.