Objectives: This study describes factors associated with having an oral cancer examination among US adults 40 years of age or older.
Methods: Data used in this study are from the Cancer Control supplement of the 1992 National Health Interview Survey, which included questions about having had an oral cancer screening examination and knowledge of risk factors for oral cancers. The survey was administered to a national sample 18 years of age and older (n = 12,035). Questions regarding beliefs and opinions about cancers in general also were asked and their associations with responses to having had an oral cancer examination studied. Analyses are limited to those respondents 40 years of age and older (n = 6,538).
Results: Fifteen percent of the adults reported having had an oral cancer examination. Of these, 48 percent had the exam during the past year and 31 percent had an exam one to three years ago. Respondents who were above the poverty level, white, non-Hispanic, 40 to 64 years of age, and who had more than a high school education and a higher level of knowledge about risk factors for oral cancer were more likely to have had an oral cancer examination.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the need for vigorous health education and health promotion interventions aimed at health care providers and the public to increase knowledge about risk factors for oral cancers and to increase oral cancer examinations.