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Patient Awareness of Head and Neck Cancer Risk Factors: Assessment of the General Otolaryngology Population
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  • Carolyn DeBiase,
  • Garrett Ni,
  • Neil Gildener-Leapman,
  • Lisa Galati
Carolyn DeBiase
Albany Medical Center
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Garrett Ni
Temple University School of Medicine
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Neil Gildener-Leapman
Albany Medical Center
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Lisa Galati
Albany Medical Center
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The general public’s knowledge of the risk factors for head and neck cancer is lacking. The otolaryngology clinic population level of awareness has not yet been reported in the literature. DESIGN: Individual cohort study SETTING: Tertiary academic center PARTICIPANTS: We conducted an anonymous survey of all patients presenting to otolaryngology clinic to assess knowledge of head and neck cancer risk factors. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measures were percentage of correct responses for each cancer risk factor and comparison of percent correct between cancer and non-cancer patients. RESULTS: A total of 510 patients were enrolled in the study including 69 patients (13.5%) with a history of head and neck cancer. The most well recognized risk factors by all patients were cigarettes (83.7%) and chewing tobacco (77.5%). Twenty-nine percent of patients correctly identified alcohol as a risk factor. Additional risk factors were poorly recognized. Cancer patients had a similar or better correct response rate than non-cancer patients except for chewing tobacco (68.1% vs 78.9% respectively). CONCLUSION: The general otolaryngology clinic population, especially patients with a history of head and neck cancer, demonstrated improved knowledge of some risk factors for head and neck cancer, but insufficient awareness of alcohol and HPV transmissible behaviors.