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Oral Cancer Risk Factors Among Mexican American Hispanic Adolescents in South Texas

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Purpose: Tobacco use and alcohol consumption have been identified as the major risk factors for oral and pharyngeal cancers. This study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of adolescent high schoolers in South Texas regarding the risk factors and signs for oral cancer and to examine their prevalence of cigarette smoking, use of smokeless tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Method: The sample population was drawn from the public school system in Brownsville, Texas. A 39 item self administered questionnaire was completed by 1667 students in four of the five high schools. 95.6% of the students were of Mexican American Hispanic ethnicity.

Results: Modeling with multivariate logistic regression revealed that among current cigarette smokers, regular alcohol use was the strongest associated risk [OR=15.7; 95% CI=10.9-22.5] followed by use of smokeless tobacco [OR=2.4; 95% CI=1.4 4.1]. There was a significantly greater (P<0.001) use of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and alcohol among the Mexican American males than females.

Conclusions: This study shows that the overall risk for oral cancer among the Mexican-American adolescent population is high especially among the males, and there is a great need for carefully planned health education and promotion programs for behavior change.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Hospital Dentistry, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, Denver 2: Department of Community Dentistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas

Publication date: July 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Acquired after the merger between the American Society of Dentistry for Children and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in 2002, the Journal of Dentistry for Children (JDC) is an internationally renowned journal whose publishing dates back to 1934. Published three times a year, JDC promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. It covers a wide range of topics related to the clinical care of children, from clinical techniques of daily importance to the practitioner, to studies on child behavior and growth and development. JDC also provides information on the physical, psychological and emotional conditions of children as they relate to and affect their dental health.
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