Developing ways to encourage early detection and presentation of oral cancer: what do high-risk individuals think?

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The aim of this pilot research was to improve understanding of individuals at risk of oral cancer, to determine their attitudes towards and responses to early detection interventions. In-depth interviews with the target group (n = 25) were used to determine their views, attitudes and requirements for an intervention to encourage early detection of oral cancer. This data was used in combination with theory-based constructs to develop written material that aimed to increase awareness of oral cancer, encourage mouth self-examination (MSE) and early presentation. A second pilot study used a think-aloud protocol to assess the target groups' (n = 14) reactions to the written information. In both studies the tape-recorded responses were analysed using framework analysis. The target group had limited knowledge about oral cancer, particularly the signs and symptoms. Participants saw benefits in performing MSE but noted the main barriers were not knowing what signs to look for or where to look. The written information was generally well-received but required some modifications. In particular, the target group required further persuasion that their lifestyle contributed to an increased risk of oral cancer. The results of these pilot studies have informed the development of a theory-based intervention for the early detection of oral cancer.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-405
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011