University of Tasmania

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HPV literacy and its link to oropharyngeal cancer among university healthcare students

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 18:54 authored by Kaur, I, Zaku, H, Sadaf, A, Mazzone, H, Shahrukh KhanShahrukh Khan, Awan, KH

Objectives: There is a need for future healthcare professionals to have adequate knowledge on the link between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer in order to better treat and educate patients. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge, perception and attitude of dental and pharmacy students towards HPV and associated risk factors.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a peer-reviewed and pilot tested questionnaire that was approved by the IRB (1154261-1). The voluntary questionnaire was distributed to dental and pharmacy students from August to December 2018, during a classroom break. Prior to administering the survey, the aim of the study was stated thoroughly. Data collected was analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test, with the level of significance set to p < 0.01.

Results: A total of 547 students participated in the study (dental = 262; pharmacy = 285). The majority of students’ reported that they have heard of HPV (dental 96.2%; pharmacy 96.1%). However, 38.7% of dental and 58.3% of pharmacy students did not report a link between HPV and oral cancer (p = 0.001). In addition, only half of the students (dental 62.84%; pharmacy 46.3%) consider HPV-16 to increase the risk of oropharyngeal cancer (p = 0.001). In regards to attitude, dental and pharmacy students did not feel confident asking the patients’ their sexual history (dental 48.7%; pharmacy 63.5%; p = 0.001) and discussing risks of head and neck cancers (dental 50.6%; pharmacy 14.7%; p = 0.001). In terms of perceptions of HPV and associated risk factors, both dental and pharmacy students agree that patients are not fully informed and healthcare professionals should provide a source of information for patients, discuss issues related to HPV while recommending the vaccination (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our results revealed low knowledge and perception among respondents about the health problems associated with HPV, its prevention, modes of transmission, and detection.


Publication title

IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition


School of Health Sciences

Event title

IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition

Event Venue

Vancouver, Canada

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Dental health

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