The need for health promotion in oral cancer prevention and early detection

J Public Health Dent. 1996 Fall;56(6):319-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1996.tb02459.x.


Objectives: This review paper provides a rationale for using health promotion to help reduce morbidity and mortality due to oral cancers by identifying barriers to prevention and early detection of these cancers and discussing strategies for change.

Methods: A literature review of the following areas was conducted: epidemiology of and risk factors for oral cancers; knowledge, opinions, and practices of health care providers and the public regarding prevention, early detection, and control of oral cancers; and policies and regulations that either enhance or act as barriers to the prevention and early detection of oral cancers.

Results: Overall, the public is ill-informed about risk factors for and signs and symptoms of oral cancers and relatively few US adults have had an oral cancer examination. Further, health care providers are remiss in providing oral cancer examinations and detecting early oral cancers.

Conclusions: To achieve the 13 oral cancer objectives contained in "Healthy People 2000," health care providers and the public must know the risk factors for these cancers as well as their signs and symptoms. Further, health care providers need to provide oral cancer examinations routinely and competently. Equally important, the public needs to know that an examination for oral cancer is available and that they can request one routinely. Thus, a vigorous agenda that includes education, policy, and research initiatives is needed to enhance oral cancer prevention and early detection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Research
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology