Oral Cancer In Maryland: The Correlation Between Dentist Knowledge And Practices Regarding Oral Cancer Examinations
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentPublic Health and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Public Health
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Maryland was ranked 7th among states with the highest oral cancer mortality rate in 1996 (Siriphant, Horowitz, & Child, 2001) and also had the highest disparity in oral cancer mortality rates for black males in all 50 states (Maybury, Horowitz, & Goodman, 2012). Currently, Maryland ranks 27th in the incidence of oral cancer when compared to other states (Maybury et al., 2012). This puts Maryland in the middle of the pack showing there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce the incidence of oral cancer. Horowitz, Drury, and Canto (2000) looked at the practices of Maryland dentists regarding oral cancer prevention and made some recommendations. These recommendations include continuing education for dental practitioners and a greater emphasis on oral cancer prevention and early detection in dental school curricula (Horowitz et al., 2000). This assumes that if dentists are knowledgeable about oral cancer, there will be a corresponding increase in the practices of oral cancer prevention and early detection. This research is a follow-up to the one done by Horowitz et al. (2000) to evaluate the effectiveness of Maryland dentist practices regarding oral cancer prevention and early detection. The objective of this study is to look at the correlation between Maryland dentist knowledge and practices regarding oral cancer prevention and early detection. This is a mixed methods study where the researcher analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data. Responses from survey questionnaires that were distributed to Maryland dentists were analyzed using univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses. The qualitative aspect involved in-depth interviews regarding the progress made in reducing morbidity and mortality rates in Maryland from the late 1990s' until now. The purpose of this dissertation was to answer the question: will knowledge of oral cancer prevention and screening among dentists in Maryland who participated in the study have an association with their provision of oral cancer. Results showed that dentists who had a medium or high knowledge index score were more likely to practice oral cancer examinations 100% of the time compared to those with a low knowledge score.