A randomised controlled trial of a pilot intervention to encourage early presentation of oral cancer in high risk groups

Dental Institute, King's College London, London, UK.
Patient Education and Counseling (Impact Factor: 2.2). 04/2012; 88(2):241-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.03.015
Source: PubMed


Prognosis for oral cancer is substantially improved when diagnosed early. This research aimed to evaluate an intervention to promote early presentation of oral cancer.
Participants were randomly assigned to a leaflet group (n = 42), a one-to-one group (n = 46) or a control group (n = 24). Participants in the leaflet group read a theory-based (Extended Self-Regulatory Model; Social Cognitive Theory) leaflet on how to spot oral cancer early. Those in the one-to-one group received a brief, interactional discussion on early presentation of oral cancer and were then asked to read the leaflet. Participants in the control group received no information about oral cancer.
The leaflet and the one-to-one instruction led to more accurate knowledge of oral cancer, decreased anticipated delay, and increased understanding, likelihood and confidence to perform self-examination. Neither intervention raised participants' anxiety. There were minimal differences between the two interventions, yet both were superior to the control group.
This piloting indicates the initial effectiveness of an brief intervention purposefully designed for people at risk of developing oral cancer.
A low cost intervention may be a useful tool to encourage early detection of oral cancer. This could be embedded into routine consultations or an early detection programme.

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    • "They were also asked to choose which health care professional they would go to for help concerning these signs should it persist for more than three weeks. The questions used in this section are a modification of a questionnaire that was developed by Scott et al. [27]. The term ‘Anticipated delay’ is used to refer to a situation wherein respondents do not intend to visit a Doctor or Dentist for signs associated with oral cancer that had lasted for three weeks. "
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