Background: Research suggests having an oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) examination for early diagnosis can increase survival rate. However, the OPC screening rate is low in certain populations. To improve OPC screening rate, this study identified factors that are associated with having an OPC examination.
Methods: Participants with landlines and aged 25 years and older were recruited from six northern Florida counties. Bivariate and logistic regressions were used to predict the outcome of whether the participants had ever had an OPC examination as well as whether participants had ever heard of an OPC examination.
Results: Of 2260 participants with a mean age of 55.9 ± 15.0 years, the majority of participants never smoked (53.4%), self-identified as Whites (70.6%), and had some college or 2-year degree education (30.3%). Smokers were significantly less likely to have ever heard of an OPC examination than those who never smoked. Significant interaction between smoking status and race, and smoking status and social support interaction were found. Whites who never smoked were more likely to have had an OPC examination than non-Whites who never smoked. Former and current smokers with greater social support were more likely to have had an OPC examination than those with lower social support.
Conclusion: The findings from this study inform the need to enhance the awareness of having an OPC examination among smokers and to reduce barriers for racial minority populations to receive an OPC examination. Future research is warranted to develop interventions to target certain populations to improve the rate of OPC examination.
Keywords: Health disparities; Oral and pharyngeal cancer; Rural health; Screening; Smoking.