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International Poster Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine



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Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 13 (2011), No. 4     15. Dec. 2011

Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 2011, Vol 13 No 4, Poster 561

Public awareness about risk factors on oral cancer in Northern Germany

Language: English

Dr. Katrin Hertrampf MPH, Prof. Dr. Dr. Jörg Wiltfang,
Clinic of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Kiel, Germany
Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Wenz,
Clinic of Prosthodontic, Propaedeutics and Dental Materials, University of Kiel, Germany
Prof. Dr. Michael Koller,
Centre for Clinicals Studies, University Hospital Regensburg, Germany

July 14-17, 2010
Barcelona, Spain


Oral cancer is a considerable health problem with more than 10,000 newly diagnosed cases each year in Germany. Comparably little is known about the knowledge of the public on oral cancer and its possible relationship to socioeconomic parameters. It was the aim of this project to investigate the knowledge about risk factors of oral cancer in the State of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany.

Fig. 1: Map of Germany with enlarged view of the state of Schleswig-Holstein (reference: ©Federal Agency of Cartography and Geodesy, Frankfurt, Germany)
Fig. 2: Percentage of the public who provided correct responses about risk factors

Material and Methods

A well-known German polling firm formulated a telephone-based survey based on a standardized questionnaire. This survey was validated by a pretest and a representative survey (n=1000) via computer-aided telephone interview (CATI) and carried out by the polling firm within the public of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
Descriptive statistics of demographic variables of the sample and responses to the questionnaire were reported by means of counts and percentages. Knowledge of the risk factors was further classified according to different socioeconomic categories and their subgroups: age, employment, graduation, income. For further analysis, we calculated the mean knowledge score for all risk factors for the total sample (red-line: 48%) and each subgroup (figure 3-6).
All analyses were done with the SPSS for Windows software.


  Demographic Distribution (n = 1,000)
Sex Male 483 (48%)
Female 517 (52%)
Not known -
Age 18-29 157 (16%)
30-44 281 (28%)
45-59 243 (24%)
≥ 60 319 (32%)
Tab. 1: Demographic distribution of the sample of the public
Fig. 3: Mean knowledge score of all risk factors (red-line) in relation to the subgroup 'graduation' Fig. 4: Mean knowledge score of all risk factors (red-line) in relation to the subgroup 'employment'
Fig. 5: Mean knowledge score of all risk factors (red-line) in relation to the subgroup 'age' Fig. 6: Mean knowledge score of all risk factors (red-line) in relation to the subgroup 'income'


The survey illustrated that the public of Schleswig-Holstein is not well-informed about the risk factors of oral cancer. In addition, the low level of knowledge was associated with a low level of certain socioeconomic factors. Improved targeted health education and health promotion strategies for the public are recommended to improve early detection and ultimately the prognosis of oral cancer.


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  • Conway D. I., Petticrew M., Marlborough H., Berthiller J., Hashibe M., Macpherson L. M. (2008) Socioeconomic inequalities and oral cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies. Int J Cancer 122(12): 2811-9.
  • Andersen Z.J., Lassen C. F., Clemmensen I. H. (2008) Social inequality and incidence of and survival from cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx in a population-based study in Denmark. Eur J Cancer 44(14): 1950-61.


The project is supported by the Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid, No. 107385).

This Poster was submitted by Dr. Katrin Hertrampf.

Correspondence address:
Dr. Katrin Hertrampf MPH
University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein
Campus Kiel, Clinic of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Arnold-Heller-Straße 3, Haus 26
24105 Kiel