Knowledge about human papillomavirus (HPV) related oral cancers among oral health professionals in university setting-A cross sectional study

J Oral Biol Craniofac Res. 2018 Jan-Apr;8(1):35-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jobcr.2017.12.002. Epub 2017 Dec 5.


Introduction: Scientific literature suggests that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may be associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). However, knowledge regarding HPV-OSCC link among oral health professionals (OHP) has been insufficient. So, the aim of this study was to assess the knowledge about HPV associated OSCC among OHP working in dental faculties in Malaysia.

Methodology: Ethical committee of the University approved this study. A validated, pre-tested questionnaire was sent electronically to 224 OHP. Questionnaire collected information regarding demography, knowledge about HPV-OSCC link, HPV vaccine, and willingness to educate patients about HPV OSCC link among the participants of this cross-sectional study. Data collected was analysed using "Stata/IC-13" and was summarised using descriptive statistics like frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation.

Results: Out of 179 participants, around 39% of the participant's opined virus was not a causative factor for OSCC. Around, 44% replied posterior portion of the tongue/oro-pharynx was the commonest site for HPV related OSCC, whereas 29% replied that lateral border of the tongue was the common site for HPV related OSCC. Forty one percent educated patients regarding HPV infection being a causative factor for OSCC. HPV vaccine can prevent OSCC was stated by 70% OHP. Only 12% were aware of the availability of HPV vaccine in Malaysia. Majority (99%), agreed that there is a need to offer continuing education programmes to dentists highlighting advances and preventive strategies in the fight against OSCC.

Conclusion: Substantial increase in awareness is required among OHP regarding HPV-OSCC link.

Keywords: HPV associated OSCC; Malaysia; Vaccine; knowledge.