Objectives: First, to evaluate awareness of oral cancer amongst the young South-Asian community in London and identify any aspects of knowledge about oral cancer that are lacking; and, second, to determine whether demographic factors or health-related behaviours are associated with knowledge of oral cancer. Research design: Cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Participants: South Asians aged 1844 years attending community centres or places of worship in London. Main outcome measures: Oral cancer awareness; health-related behaviours. Results: Respondents (n=201) were mainly male (61%), Indian (77%) and Hindu (35%). Over half (58%; n=113) had one or more negative health-related behaviours and only 18% had attended a dentist in the previous two years. Chewing paan with betel nut (OR=4.08, 95%CI=1.58-10.59, p<0.01), and time since last visit to a dentist (OR=4.90, 95%CI=2.13-11.28, p<0.01) were independently associated with respondents level of knowledge of mouth cancer; the former positively and the latter negatively. Conclusions: The results suggest that young adults in the South Asian Community are exposed to a number of risk factors for oral cancer yet have poor knowledge of the implications of these health-related behaviours, and ways in which oral cancer can be detected earlier. The survey highlighted specific issues for action. Key words: oral cancer, knowledge, awareness, ethnic minorities, early diagnosis, UK
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